In another attempt to undermine the important work of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Consumer Bureau or CFPB), Republicans on the House Committee on Financial Services issued a 13-page staff report that attempted to redirect blame away from Wells Fargo for their massive fraudulent account scandal and onto the Consumer Bureau. The report falsely accuses the Consumer Bureau of not cooperating with the Committee’s investigation, even though the Consumer Bureau has produced thousands of pages of materials concerning its investigation of Wells Fargo.
“Republicans have been clamoring to weaken, impede, and ultimately destroy the Consumer Bureau since its creation,” said Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services. “The Consumer Bureau charged Wells Fargo with a record $100 million fine for opening fake accounts and yet, Committee Republicans haven’t done anything to hold Wells Fargo accountable. This report is an insult to the millions of Americans who were harmed by Wells Fargo.”
Debunking Republicans’ Alternative Facts:
Fiction: “Wells Fargo has cooperated in full with the Committee’s investigation to date.”
Fact: Wells Fargo has not responded to Democrats’ multiple requests to provide Democratic staff the same meetings with Wells Fargo executives that it provided to Republican staff.
Fiction: As a result of the Consumer Bureau’s so-called “non-compliance with the Committee’s subpoena…the Committee’s investigation into the Wells Fargo matter has reached an impasse.”
Fact: Committee Republicans do not need documents from the Consumer Bureau to conduct an investigation into Wells Fargo – they can receive, and have received, documents directly from Wells Fargo.
Fiction: The report faults the Consumer Bureau for not including “internal CFPB records…such as internal emails or memoranda relating to its investigation.”
Fact: Committee Republicans fail to note that their September 16, 2016 document request did not ask for internal records nor communications. This report is the first time that Committee Republicans have stated that they are seeking these internal Consumer Bureau records.
Fiction: “…the Committee asked the Director to brief the Committee about the CFPB’s investigation. … Director Cordray replied that he would not brief the Committee.”
Fact: Director Cordray has repeatedly made himself and Consumer Bureau staff available to speak with, brief, and offer hearing testimony to the Committee. In addition, Committee Republicans rejected Director Cordray’s offer to testify at the Committee’s Wells Fargo hearing.
Fiction: Majority Committee staff “…conclude[s] that Director Cordray is in default of the Committee’s Subpoena.”
Fact: The Consumer Bureau provided over 57,000 pages of documents in response to the subpoena. Additionally, the Consumer Bureau has repeatedly requested additional guidance from the Committee to ensure that the Committee has received all records that it requested.
Thanks to the Consumer Bureau, Wells Fargo was forced to pay a record $100 million fine for secretly opening unauthorized accounts and ordered to compensate customers nationwide. The Republican report feigns concern for the Wells Fargo scandal, when in reality, the report is a thinly-disguised attempt to protect Wall Street by attacking the Consumer Bureau.
To view Ranking Member Waters’ op-ed on the numerous ways in which the Consumer Bureau fights for hardworking Americans who have been harmed by illegal predatory financial schemes, click here.