On June 25, 2015, the oversight and investigations subcommittee of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Financial Services held a fifth hearing about discrimination at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The hearing was titled “Examining Continuing Allegations of Discrimination and Retaliation at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.” But this was no mere subcommittee hearing as both the chairman and ranking member of the full Committee were also present.
|Hearings of the House Financial Services Committee, Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee|
|Date||Title of Hearing||Witnesses||Hearing Report Number|
|4/2/2014||Allegations of Discrimination and Retaliation within the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau||Ms. Angela Martin and Ms. Misty Raucci||113-72|
|5/21/2014||Allegations of Discrimination and Retaliation within the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, part 2||Mr. Benjamin Konop and Ms. Liza Strong||113-81|
|6/18/2014||Allegations of Discrimination and Retaliation within the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, part 3||Mr. Ali Naraghi and Mr. Kevin Williams||113-85|
|7/30/2014||Allegations of Discrimination and Retaliation and the CFPB Management Culture||The Honorable Richard Cordray||113-96|
|6/25/2015||Examining Continuing Allegations of Discrimination and Retaliation at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau||Mr. Robert Cauldwell and Ms. Florine Williams|
While the context of the hearing was about the allegations of discrimination, the issue became clouded with the question whether the CFPB should continue to exist. Because of this entanglement, the Democrats were concerned that complaints of discrimination (which the Democratic side holds as serious in their own right) was being used by the GOP majority as a method to undermine the agency, which the GOP would favor.
“Do you think that the majority of the members on the opposite side of the aisle are more concerned about discrimination than this side of the aisle?” she [Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.)] asked. “Just take a look.”
Waters’s comment drew audible murmurs from Reps. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) and Mia Love (R-Utah), who is the first black Republican woman elected in Congress.
“Oh my gosh,” Love said. “Wow.”
“Yeah, you can, ‘Wow’ all you want,” said Waters. “Discrimination issues — at least on this side of the aisle — are taken seriously. … [But] this is a political fight inside the committee.”
Additionally, only the minority members of the Committee have asked the Offices of Inspectors General for the federal financial regulatory agencies to examine their respective agencies diversity and inclusion practices. Yet, as of the date of this post, there have been no hearings held on those reports.
|Federal Financial Agency||Report Number||Internet Link||Comment|
|Consumer Financial Protection Bureau||Audit report 2015-MO-C-002||http://oig.federalreserve.gov/reports/cfpb-diversity-inclusion-mar2015.pdf||American Banker article about racial disparities of CFPB staff evaluations.|
|Department of the Treasury, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency||OIG-15-017||http://www.treasury.gov/about/organizational-structure/ig/Audit%20Reports%20and%20Testimonies/OIG-15-017.pdf|
|Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation||Eval-15-001||http://www.fdicoig.gov/reports15/15-001EV.pdf|
|Federal Housing Finance Agency||EVL-2015-003||http://fhfaoig.gov/Content/Files/EVL-2015-003.pdf|
|Federal Reserve Board||Audit report 2015-MO-B-006||http://oig.federalreserve.gov/reports/board-diversity-inclusion-mar2015.pdf||What is left out of the report is significant: Artis v. Bernanke (now Yellen). Also 12 U.S.C. 244 needs Congressional attention to ensure that Title 5 of the U.S. Code applies to the Board; the Board’s record-keeping on, and reporting of, its internal management is lax.|
|National Credit Union Administration||OIG-14-09||http://www.ncua.gov/about/Leadership/CO/OIG/Documents/OIG201409EqualOpportunityDiversity.pdf||Click for blog post on this report|
|Securities and Exchange Commission||528||http://www.sec.gov/oig/reportspubs/528.pdf||Report is thorough, thoughtful, and well done.|
As for the testimony, Ms. Florine Williams, senior equal employment specialist, in the CFPB’s Office of Civil Rights, had to file a discrimination complaint herself about her mistreatment by her supervisor.
Also testifying was Mr. Robert Cauldwell, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, chapter 335, and examiner at the CFPB. Mr. Cauldwell submitted testimony about the bad management culture at the CFPB. However, there were questions from the dais about whether he had complaints of discrimination filed against him. In addition, there were questions about why he did not speak for the NTEU.