The current estimate would put the cost of the renovation at nearly $600 per square foot. According to a statement by the House Financial Services Committee, that’s more per square foot than it cost to build the Bellagio Hotel and Casino ($330 per square foot) or the world’s tallest building, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa ($450 per square foot).
The Fed’s inspector general also noted that the CFPB “was unable to locate any documentation of the decision to fully renovate the building” and that it failed to follow its own guidelines for gaining approval for the renovation.
The Financial Services Committee has spent more than a year questioning CFPB officials about the ever-increasing cost of the renovation – and indeed why an agency that is renting a building should pay to renovate it in the first place.
“When they passed the Dodd-Frank Act, Democrats in Congress and the White House made the CFPB unaccountable to taxpayers and to Congress,” said Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas). “We’re seeing the results of this dangerous unaccountability today in a Washington bureaucracy that is running amok, spending as much as it wants on whatever it wants. It’s outrageous.”
The renovation costs for the rented headquarters of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have shot up to more than $215 million, according to a report by the Federal Reserve’s inspector general. That’s $65 million more than the CFPB’s estimate six months ago, and $120 million more than last year’s estimate.