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House Subpoenas Obama Officials Over Racial and Gender Discrimination Allegations

A subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee voted unanimously on Tuesday to subpoena two Obama administration officials to probe allegations of racial and gender discrimination within the Consumer Financial Protection Board.

The Oversight and Investigations subcommittee voted to subpoena the two officials after it heard testimony earlier this month from a whistleblower, Angela Martin, who charged that the CFPB discriminates against women and minorities. That hearing followed a report from American Banker, which said CFPB managers “show a pattern of ranking white employees distinctly better than minorities in performance reviews used to grant raises and issue bonuses.”

The subcommittee run by Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) voted Tuesday to subpoena two Obama administration officials at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)

Martin told the subcommittee that she was a victim of discrimination by the CFPB, and also retaliation.

But so far, CFPB Director Richard Cordray has not allowed the two officials to testify, which is what prompted the subpoena vote. The committee voted 20-0 to subpoena the two officials.

The two officials sought by House members are Stacey Bach, Assistant Director of the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity, and Liza Strong, Director of Employee Relations. The subcommittee also voted to subpoena Ben Konop, the executive vice president of the CFPB employee’s union, the National Treasury Employees Union.

“Unfortunately, the CFPB and the NTEU refused to provide the requested witnesses to testify at the April 2 hearing,” subcommittee Chairman Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) said. “And yet, we maintain it is imperative that we are able to question Ms. Bach, Ms. Strong, and Mr. Konop.

“Through our investigation, it has become quite clear to this subcommittee that they are the three individuals with the most knowledge of the disturbing treatment which women and minority employees were subjected to while at the bureau," McHenry said.

The subcommittee noted today that the two CFPB employees have retained outside counsel. But committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) insisted today that he would not be put off by the CFPB’s effort to keep them from testifying.

“For the sake of Angela Martin and other CFPB employees who are suffering, our investigation will move forward,” he said. “All those engaged in this reprehensible behavior at the CFPB must be held accountable.”

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