CFPB employee alleges discrimination, bullying at the agency
The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau isn't doing a good job of protecting minorities and women, says one employee who claims there is discrimination and bias at the agency.
Angela Martin, a lawyer in CFPB’s enforcement division, told a House Financial Services Subcommittee that there are a “trail of victims” at the agency who are afraid yo speak out publicly.
“Unfortunately, there is a pervasive culture of retaliation and intimidation that silences employees and chills the workforce from exposing wrongdoing,” she said.
Martin made a series of inflammatory allegations about work life at the bureau. For instance, she said one division in CFPB’s consumer response division that is mostly staffed by African-American employees is internally referred to as “the plantation” or “cesspool.”
“African-Americans tell me that it’s extremely hard to leave the plantation,” Martin said, claiming that those employees do not have the same opportunity as others to be promoted.
Wednesday’s hearing was the culmination of a week of escalating tensions between bureau officials and the committee’s Republican leadership, who opposed the creation of CFPB and have sought to weaken the agency, over what specific issues should be discussed in public. It was scheduled following revelations that a CFPB employee survey showed that white employees received higher ratings than minority employees on a rating scale the bureau uses to determine benefits, such as raises and bonuses.
The CFPB refused to send officials to testify, however, after Martin was named a witness, arguing the hearing would involve an individual claim that deals with sensitive and personal information about employees.
Martin alleges that her supervisor retaliated against her after she filed a complaint of gender discrimination against another employee, taking responsibilities away and effectively sidelining her. The CFPB hired an outside investigator to examine Martin’s claims, and Misty Raucci, the investigator, concluded after a six-month probe that Martin’s claims were valid. Raucci also testified at Wednesday’s hearing.
The CFPB has pushed back on the validity of Raucci’s investigation, and the supervisor accused of retaliating against Martin — Scott Pluta — has called her claims “patently false.”
The CFPB was created by the Dodd-Frank financial regulation reform bill and is supposed to "protect" consumers from shady mortgage lenders and brokers. In reality, it criminalizes actions by some financial services employees whose customers don't make the effort to understand any agreement they are entering into.
Poor management is an epidemic in government and that's what this is. It makes you wonder what goes on at other agerncies if this sort of thing is commonplace at the CFPB.