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Democrats attempt to cancel whistleblower hearing on discrimination at CFPB

The Examiner filed a civil complaint against the CFPB under the federal Freedom of Information Act following eight months of bureau refusals to release its financial and design records of the renovation of its Washington headquarters. (Graeme Jennings/Washington Examiner)

Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee have quietly attempted to scuttle a congressional hearing looking into whistleblower allegations of discrimination at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Rep. Patrick McHenry, a North Carolina Republican, slammed the Democratic effort, calling it an “attempt to silence and intimidate whistleblowers.”

Rep. Maxine Waters of California and Rep. Al Green of Texas, two ranking Democratic members of the House Financial Services Committee, last week wrote a letter urging the cancellation of Wednesday's scheduled hearing about Angela Martin, a CFPB employee scheduled to testify about employment discrimination and retaliation.

The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations had originally invited three CFPB officials to testify at the hearing, including a federal employee union official. Democrats urged cancellation after the CFPB barred the officials from testifying before the subcommittee.

Without CFPB participation, Waters and Green wrote, the hearing would focus instead on “a confidential and on-going grievance resolution process, and a discussion of which jeopardizes the disclosure of the privacy of other CFPB employees,” according to the letter obtained by the Washington Examiner.

The public break between Democrats and Republicans occurs as members of the subcommittee examine allegations of racial disparities at the consumer agency.

Politico on Monday published the planned opening testimony by an independent investigator slated to testify before the hearing. The investigator, Misty Raucci, is reported to level serious charges about the culture and working atmosphere at the bureau.

“I found that the general environment in Consumer Response is one of exclusion, retaliation, discrimination, nepotism, demoralization, devaluation, and other offensive working conditions which constitute a toxic workplace for many of its employees,” Raucci plans to testify, according to Politico.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, a Texas Republican, and McHenry denied the Democrats' request, and the hearing is slated to go on as scheduled.

“To allow the CFPB’s refusal to cooperate to result in the cancellation of the scheduled hearing would be to accede to a gross intrusion upon the Subcommittee’s prerogatives,” they said in a Monday letter to the Democrats obtained by the Examiner.