It’s great to have Uncle Sam looking out for the little guy, isn’t it? That’s why it was such a super-duper, nifty idea for Washington to summon into being the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It was created as part of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act back in 2010, but was originally the brainstorm of now Senator Elizabeth Warren. (You may recall she was initially slated to head the agency, but that was derailed by Congress.) So now that they are on the job, keeping citizens safe from big banking fat cats and ensuring financial responsibility and ethics, how are they doing?
Well… pretty much on par with what you’d expect out of any massive Washington bureaucracy. Right out of the gate, they inflated the cost of refurbishing their new digs by more than 100%, though they’ve tried to deny it.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray evidently is feeling unfamiliar heat after resorting to a disreputable form of sophistry as a substitute for honest discussion and debate. During a June 10 hearing of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, for example, Cordray responded to a question from Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., on the ballooning cost of CFPB’s headquarters renovation by saying: “This has been out there and taken as gospel in the public record for some time. It’s a fiction of the Washington Examiner that this project started out at $55 million and now has ballooned to higher proportions. There never was any expectation that this project could be completed for $55 million. That is false.”
Not only was it not false, but the Examiner took the figures directly from the General Services Administration. The cost has now skyrocketed from $55 million to $139M and still climbing. Way to keep an eye on things, guys.
But that’s not all the “good news” from the CFPB. They’ve been criticized from without and within for creating a toxic environment where they’ve been discriminating against minorities, women and seniors.
An internal investigation at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last year concluded that an agency supervisor allowed an employee to be harassed by colleagues, a symbol of what the probe said was a “toxic workplace” in one part of the agency.,,
“I found that the general environment in Consumer Response is one of exclusion, retaliation, discrimination, nepotism, demoralization, devaluation, and other offensive working conditions which constitute a toxic workplace for many of its employees,” Investigator Misty Raucci will say in her opening remarks.
This is only one of many, many, many reports on the abuses taking place in the agency, highlighted in particular by one whistle blower from their own ranks. A whistle blower who, by the way, they tried to shut down themselves.
I am the naturalized U.S. citizen that Bureau management referred to as an “f’ing foreigner.”
I feel obligated to protect my fellow colleagues who, in their sincere attempts to support the mission of CFPB, are paralyzed from asserting their rights, and even their opinions. I hope, by telling my story, it will further enlighten the committee about the culture of intimidation and retaliation at the Bureau and how that culture makes it very difficult for employees to raise concerns about mistreatment, mismanagement, and abuse of authority.
In short, favoritism and cronyism runs rampant at the Bureau.
I soon found that voicing a professional dissenting opinion that is in any way at odds with with Bureau management – even in the smallest of ways – will result in retaliation.
Way to look out for the little guy. The CFPB is quickly on it’s way to looking more like The Weed Agency than any sort of super hero protecting the citizen on Main Street.