Hensarling to CFPB: End Closed-Door Policy
Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) has called on CFPB Director Richard Cordray to open the bureau’s advisory council meetings to the public.
Hensarling said the CFPB should eliminate its closed-door meeting policy in light of Sunshine Week.
“Instead of operating behind closed doors, it’s time for the CFPB to live up to its oft-stated commitment to transparency and openness. In the interest of true, genuine transparency and open government, Director Cordray can and should use ‘Sunshine Week’ to take immediate steps that bring the CFPB into the sunlight,” Hensarling said in a statement on Monday.
The House Financial Services committee majority staff said “four advisory groups created by the CFPB conduct virtually all of their business behind closed doors – refusing requests by members of the public and even a member of Congress to attend them.”
In addition, the meetings are closed to the media.
The groups include the Community Bank Advisory Council, the Credit Union Advisory Council, the Consumer Advisory Board and the Academic Research Council.
Out of meetings over a two-day period, the bureau’s Consumer Advisory Board opened just two hours to the public, according to the committee.
Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), a member of the Financial Services Committee, had requested to attend the Consumer Advisory Board’s meeting in February.
“What goes on at these meetings?” Duffy said. “If the CFPB is as committed to transparency as it claims, then why was I denied entry when I asked to attend?”
Despite Cordray’s assertions, the committee claims nothing prevents the CFPB from opening all of the council’s meetings to the public.
“Confidential information related to pending investigations or enforcement actions is potentially market moving and could be used for financial gain,” Hensarling wrote in a letter to Cordray on Feb 4.
“Consequently, I am concerned that the bureau would release confidential information to persons who do not work for the bureau and could be competitors or future legal adversaries of the party subject to the enforcement action,” he also wrote.
Cordray has not responded to Hensarling’s letter, according to the news release from the committee’s majority staff.