The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) – mandated in 2010 to protect consumers in the financial sector and set up in 2011 – is hard at work as the investigations start piling up. Problem is, they’re investigating themselves and not financial institutions. An employment report released last spring that was critical of the workplace environment, especially from the perspective of African-American employees, is now going to be reassessed by means of another investigation; this time by an Atlanta law firm with long-standing ties to the Democratic party and whose founding partner was the late civil rights lawyer, Donald Lee Hollowell, who represented Martin Luther King and secured his release from prison in 1960. The problems center around the CFPB’s Consumer Response Unit, nicknamed “The Plantation” by African-American employees.

This is clearly a two-pronged effort to: 1) Clean up the reputation of CPBR managers accused of discrimination and, 2) intimidate employees into cooperating and prevent further whistleblowing. Washington employment attorneys are in a fuss over the case and Rep. Patrick McHenry R – N.C. was disturbed by Margaret Plank, senior CFPB lead counsel who is leading the new investigation, having been the opposing counsel in the previous investigation. An agency that did not exist a few years ago is already embroiled in the minutiae of bureaucratic process as investigations and counter-investigations are rolled out. Do we really need all this?

In his book What Government Agencies Do and Why They Do It, James Q. Wilson states, “…in government (where) the need to maintain external support for an agency is so great as to divert all but the ablest and most energetic executives from careful task definition.” In other words, never mind what we’re supposed to be doing, what kind of spin are we getting? CFPB Consumer Response assistant director Scott Pluta is in the crosshairs, being singled out as an intimidating manager. He was, of course, an Obama campaign worker who was awarded the position in the game of political partisanship where rewards are handed out to loyal foot soldiers. As a result, we have a muddied agency that still is defining what exactly it needs to do and is now bogged down in yet another internal investigation supported from the outside by an “independent” law firm with deep ties to Democrats. This is the agency that’s going to protect voters against bad practice in the financial sector?

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