Rohit Chopra hasn’t even been confirmed by the Senate to be the next Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and he’s already being asked questions by a leading Senate Republican after a report was published this week detailing how the Biden administration is attempting to “sideline” top officials at the regulator.
Sen. Pat Toomey [R-Pa.], the ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, yesterday announced an investigation into whether the CFPB has “potentially violated civil service protections” in attempting to replace career employees at the Bureau with new employees who will share the administration’s views and vision on enforcement and supervision.
The Bureau was accused of offering some employees incentives like early retirement packages to induce them to leave while allegedly investigating the actions of others in the hopes of either finding grounds to fire them or inducing them to leave on their own.
“According to press reports, the political leadership of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) under the Biden administration has been taking unusual and possibly unlawful actions to push out top-level career civil servants at the CFPB in order to fill those civil service positions with hand-picked loyalists,” Sen. Toomey wrote in a letter to Dave Uejio, the CFPB’s Acting Director. “Such actions reportedly include offering employees extraordinary separation incentives to leave their posts and placing employees on administrative leave after opening up frivolous investigations against them—allegations that, if true, may violate employment and other laws. Moreover, the CFPB notably declined to deny any of the detailed allegations in the report.”
Sen. Toomey sent essentially the same letter to Chopra, who is still a commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission. Among the questions asked of Chopra and the CFPB by Sen. Toomey were:
- Were they aware of whether the CFPB has taken any steps between January 20, 2021, and the present to push out, replace, or encourage any career CFPB employees to leave their positions?
- Were they aware of whether the CFPB between January 20, 2021, and the present offered any career CFPB employees separation incentives to leave their positions?
- Were they aware of whether the CFPB between January 20, 2021, and the present opened an investigation into any career CFPB employee at the Associate Director or Assistant Director level?
- Were they aware of whether the CFPB between January 20, 2021, and the present placed any career CFPB employees at the Associate Director or Assistant Director level on administrative leave?