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  • Republicans Demand Financial Protection Bureau Produce Emails

    Republicans are ordering the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to grant access to over 60 emails regarding its decision to engage in costly and extensive renovations, including plans for a four-story glass staircase, the Hill reports.

    Ire from the Republican camp is mostly due to a report released earlier this month by the Federal Reserve inspector general, which it stated that there was no sound case for renovation at all.

    Now, the Consumer Financial Protection Board (CFPB) has until July 31 to comply with the request.

    House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling emphasized that the emails must be full and unredacted copies. Hensarling is especially interested in the particular CFPB official responsible for initiating the renovations, as the watchdog report concluded that it was uncertain as to how exactly the project came to be approved in the first place.

    Originally founded in 2010 as a response to the financial crisis, the CFPB started out renting space from another government branch, but almost immediately began formulating plans for its own headquarters.

    The original renovation cost was slated at $55 million dollars, but that figure has since jumped multiple times, first to $95 million, and then to $150.8 million. Based on the inspector general report last month, that figure has yet again been bumped up to its current amount of $215.8 million.

    A two-story waterfall and a sunken garden are also part of the new CFPB headquarter schematics.

    CFPB spokeswoman Jen Howard has been insistent that the renovations are appropriate and necessary, despite the fact that the renovations are not even being conducted on a building the agency owns.

    “The CFPB’s headquarters is a government asset that is past its prime and needs to be brought up to current standards,” Howard said. In the meantime, Hensarling has informed CFPB Director Richard Cordray that detailed investigations will continue into the agency.

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