A House of Representatives subcommittee is considering issuing subpoenas to several officials at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) as part of its investigation into allegations of employee discrimination at the federal agency.
The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a meeting Tuesday to authorize the issuance of subpoenas in efforts to goad testimonies from three CFPB officials, following the Bureau’s refusal to allow the employees to testify at a previous Subcommitte hearing.
At the beginning of the month, the House Subcommittee held a hearing in which current CFPB employee and whistleblower, Angela Martin, and investigator hired by the CFPB, Misty Raucci, described a “culture of racial and gender discrimination and retaliation” against employees at the CFPB, the Subcommittee stated.
The Bureau allegedly refused to allow Assistant Director of the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity M. Stacey Bach and Liza Strong, director of employee relations, to testify at that hearing, according to a Subcommittee statement.
Additionally, the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) refused to allow any CFPB union representative to testify at the hearing as well, so Ben Konop, executive vice president of NTEU Chapter 335, was not present for testimony either.
CFPB’s “disparate” employment practices first caught spotlight in March, when data surfaced showing how the federal agency ranks its employees.
The data revealed that the highest employee rankings—often translating into benefits such as raises or bonuses—were predominantly given to Caucasian employees, while the lowest percentage of ratings fell to Hispanic and African-American CFPB employees.
“As we continue our investigation into the claims of discrimination and retaliation at the CFPB, it is imperative that we are able to question Ms. Bach, Ms. Strong, and Mr. Konop,” stated Subcommittee Chairman Patrick McHenry (R-NC), “Through our investigation, it has become quite clear to this Committee that they are the three individuals with the most knowledge of the disturbing treatment which women and minority employees were subjected to while at the Bureau.”
The testimony of CFPB officials will give more scope to the investigation, suggests Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarline (R-TX).
“This investigation has never been about one side of the story; it has been about hearing both sides of the story,” stated Hensarling. “Angela Martin’s testimony before the committee is evidence that her experience of discrimination and retaliation at the CFPB is just the tip of the iceberg.”
Written by Jason Oliva