Human Events Blog

Waste and abuse at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Waste and abuse at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Breaking news: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wastes piles of taxpayer money on ludicrous nonsense, just like every other organ of our bloated government.

Judicial Watch has been auditing the CFPB’s finances.  Among the “questionable expenses” they have discovered are $479,354 for sign language translation services, $4,500 to send top attorneys to a “banking law fundamentals” class, and starting salaries as high as $173,000 per year.

The agency told CNN it needed the sign-language services, which apparently cover just two “entry level employees,” in order to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act.  Supposedly they have pre-paid for these services, and will receive a refund of unused sign-language interpreter time at the end of the year.  Judicial Watch noted that the expenses paid thus far included $1,185 to cover gas mileage for the interpreter – which, to be fair, is not hard to believe in Barack Obama’s economy.

The continuing-education courses on banking law don’t seem that outrageous… until one reflects that highly compensated attorneys hired for the top ranks of a massive consumer protection agency really shouldn’t need that kind of remedial education.  One enforcement attorney is quoted from an email saying, “This looks like an awesome agenda for a banking world novice like me.”

As for the soaring salaries of CFPB officials, Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY) observed in congressional hearings that starting salaries at the agency exceeded Office of Personnel Management standards by up to 90 percent.  Judicial Watch adds that “a dozen new hires take home more than $225,000 a year, while a student intern was paid $51,620 ‘through completion of education & study.’”

This is all drearily familiar, coming from a big federal agency, but it’s especially galling because the CFPB exists in a weird interstellar legal space, far from the light of the Constitution.  It’s funded by the Federal Reserve, not Congress.  Its top official, Richard Cordray, was installed in a extra-Constitutional assertion of power by President Obama, who claimed the novel power to declare which hours of any given day Congress was, or was not, formally in session.  Few believe Cordray would have survived proper congressional confirmation, and he’s actually an improvement over the hyper-radical interim director: Elizabeth “Fauxcahontas” Warren, who claims to have created the “intellectual foundation” of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

CNN points out that CFPB’s crazy money-no-object spending is not that unusual for federal agencies: “Judicial Watch found that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency was paying 85 workers at least $225,000 a year in 2011 and the Securities and Exchange Commission was paying 103 workers more than $225,000, based on other documents it requested last year.”

Ah, well, that makes it okay then.  Spend away, federal agencies!  When the money runs out, you can always borrow more, or jack up taxes on the people you regulate.  It’s not as if you have to face the pressure of sustaining a profitable business model.

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