Two Consumer Financial Protection Bureau officials and a union representative have been subpoenaed to appear before an upcoming House subcommittee in relation to an ongoing investigation into allegations of discrimination and retaliation at the CFPB.
Representative Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, announced the subpoena on Tuesday for a May 21 Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations after the CFPB refused to allow some witnesses to attend an earlier hearing.
“The CFPB’s refusal to provide answers about alarming allegations of rampant racial, gender and age discrimination is unacceptable. Through our ongoing investigation, it has become quite clear to the subcommittee that the three individuals who have been subpoenaed have the most knowledge of the disturbing treatment which women and minority employees are subjected to at the CFPB,” said subcommittee Chairman Patrick McHenry (R-NC) in a statement.
Claims of race and age discrimination and retaliation were first reported in a March American Banker article and were subsequently the topic of an April 2 Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing.
“There is a pervasive culture of retaliation and intimidation that silences employees and chills the workforce from exposing wrongdoing,” CFPB attorney and whistleblower Angela Martin testified at the hearing. Misty Raucci, a third-party investigator hired by the CPFB to examine Martin’s claims, also testified during the April hearing, calling the allegations of retaliation “valid.”
However, the CFPB and National Treasury Employees Union refused to allow invited witnesses to appear at that hearing after learning that Martin would testify. This led to the subcommittee voting unanimously to approve subpoenas for Stacey Bach, assistant director of the CFPB’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunity; Liz Strong, director of employee relations at the CFPB; and Ben Konop, executive vice president of NTEU Chapter 335.
“Regrettably, congressional subpoenas were necessary in order for the committee to get the answers it needs in this investigation. In the coming months, the committee expects to hear from all those who can shed light on allegations of discrimination and retaliation,” said Hensarling in a statement. “The Bureau must be held accountable for any such reprehensible behavior.”
Written by Alyssa Gerace