House Committees, Still Concerned About Transparency at CFPB, Ask Again For Documents On Bureau’s Role In Mortgage Settlement Negotiations
June 21, 2011 -
The leadership of the Financial Services Committee and the Oversight and Government Reform Committee continue to express concerns about a lack of transparency and accountability at the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Leaders of these two House committees on Monday sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner requesting documents reflecting coordination between the CFPB and the State Attorneys General regarding the ongoing mortgage settlement negotiations.
Members of both committees have, for months, tried to get answers from the Treasury Department about the extent of the CFPB’s role in the negotiations.
The letter was signed by Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus and Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa. Reps. Shelley Moore Capito, Scott Garrett, Patrick McHenry, and Randy Neugebauer, all senior members of the Financial Services Committee, also signed the letter.
“As we have expressed in previous correspondence with you and in hearings before our respective committees, we remain concerned that transparency and accountability be given the highest priority throughout the government, especially in an agency as powerful and important as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,” the Members of Congress write in their letter.
The new request for information comes after Judicial Watch, a nonpartisan public interest group that investigates government corruption, uncovered e-mails, meeting minutes and other records that show the CFPB has been heavily involved in the negotiations.
During a March 16 subcommittee hearing, Chairman Bachus questioned Elizabeth Warren, the assistant to the president and senior adviser to the Secretary of the Treasury who is charged with setting up the CFPB, about the propriety of her participation in the mortgage settlement negotiations since the consumer bureau doesn’t officially begin operations until July 21. Ms. Warren responded that the bureau merely provided advice when asked.
“It appears that the CFPB has been deeply involved in the mortgage servicing settlement negotiations and that its role goes far beyond the mere offering of ‘advice,’” the letter states.
Click here to view a copy of the letter.