Congress Subpoenas Two More CFPB Whistleblowers
The House Financial Services Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee voted Thursday to subpoena two more individuals alleging discrimination at the CFPB.
CFPB examiner Ali Naraghi and former CFPB employee Kevin Williams approached the committee and asked to be subpoenaed, which would likely protect them against further retaliation, according to the subcommittee.
"When allegations of discrimination at the CFPB were first uncovered, my subcommittee committed to investigating these claims and providing all affected bureau employees a forum to share their stories of mistreatment by agency leaders,” said Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.).
“We are continuing these important efforts by subpoenaing two more employees who have experienced both discrimination and retaliation while at the Bureau. This behavior has no place in our government and my subcommittee will not rest until we have exposed those CFPB leaders responsible,” McHenry also said.
CFPB employee Angela Martin testified before the subcommittee in April and alleged that CFPB managers were engaging in racial and gender discrimination.
“The mismanagement and abuse of authority have precluded me from doing my part to carry out the bureau’s important mission. Indeed, today marks the 400th day that I have been isolated and prevented from performing any meaningful work,” she said in her testimony. “I never received a fair shake at the bureau, and I have not been assigned one case or enforcement matter during my entire tenure.”
Liza Strong, director of employee relations at the CFPB, testified before the subcommittee last month and disputed Martin’s allegations.
“I have never witnessed management be anything but professional and accommodating to her,” said Strong in her testimony Wednesday. “I was surprised when, during the April 2 hearing, it was alleged that I attempted to influence Defense Investigators Group’s conclusions. I have never done that and in fact, the allegation does not make sense. Had I wanted to pre-determine the outcome of the investigation, I would not have outsourced it.”
A report commissioned by the CFPB at the request of the National Treasury Employees Union and conducted by Deloitte Consulting in September 2013 found a pattern of white employees at the CFPB being ranked higher than minorities in performance reviews. “While the chapter was raising PMR issues through grievances and bargaining, we also pursued approximately 15 pay equity grievances. In these filings, we alleged that women and minority employees were being underpaid when compared to similarly situated white male colleagues,” said Benjamin Konop, EVP of the National Treasury Employees Union Chapter 335, at the subcommittee hearing.
“To date, the bureau has denied each of these grievances at all stages, often using inconsistent reasoning, despite what I feel is convincing evidence of low pay for numerous women and minority workers,” he added.
Strong said she did not read the Deloitte Consulting report and was not aware of its findings until the day of the hearing.