The House Financial Services Committee (FSC) Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee appears to be picking up the pace in its investigation of alleged racial and gender discrimination at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).  Today the subcommittee voted to subpoenas two more whistleblowers who have come forward asking to testify about alleged discrimination and retaliation. According to FSC's press release, CFPB Examiner Ali Naraghi and former Bureau employee Kevin Williams asked to be subpoenaed "in order to protect their interests and guard against further retaliation by the Bureau."

The subcommittee has held two earlier hearings on the discrimination claims.  On April 2 there was testimony from two whisleblowers, Angela Martin a current CFPB Senior Enforcement Attorney employee and Misty Raucci a former investigator from the Defense Investigators Group who claimed CFPB had what they termed "a culture of racial and gender discrimination and retaliation against its employees."  

Martin presented lengthy testimony at the hearing about the discrimination she claims to have faced and about alleged retaliation for filing complaints over that discrimination.   Raucci, whose company was hired to investigate Martin's complaint, said she had submitted extensive documentation to CFPB suggesting a pervasive disregard for employee rights and that "the corrosive environment of the CFPB workplace was engendered by the bureau's perpetual failure to uphold its own EEO policies."

In a second hearing on May 21, the Subcommittee heard testimony from two subpoenaed witnesses: Liza Strong, the Director of Employee Relations at the CFPB, and Ben Konop, Executive Vice President of Chapter 335 of the National Treasury Employees.  Strong said the Bureau had investigated Martin's complaints on several occasions including hiring the Defense Investigators Group to conduct an independent assessment.  Their work, Strong said, did not even meet "minimal standards" and the Bureau was, at the time of the hearing, still trying to fill the gaps in Raucci 's final report.

Strong said that the Bureau worked very hard to accommodate Martin's demands, paying her a monetary settlement and twice essentially creating positions for her in two different divisions at the same pay and grade, attempting to design each to Martin's specifications.  She declined one, Strong said, and is now dissatisfied with the other.

Konop testified that women and minority employees were being underpaid when compared to similarly situated white male colleagues. "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."

However, Konop said, in recent days CFPB Director Richard Cordray had acknowledged for the first time that "there were broad-based disparities in the way performance ratings were assigned across our employee base in both 2012 and 2013.  In particular, Director Cordray agreed with the union's findings that there was a "broad-based, statistically significant disparit in many areas, including race/ethnicity, age, [and] bargaining unit membership eligibility..."   

Konop said the directive retroactively compensates the majority of employees harmed by the evaluation system and was a solid first step in the Bureau's process of accountability.

In a press release announcing the new subpoenas Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Patrick McHenry (R-NC) said, "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.  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."