CFPB whistleblower says Cordray told her to ‘back down’

by Ryan Smith03 Apr 2014
A whistleblower who’s accused the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau of systemic discrimination says CFPB Director Richard Cordray told her to “back down” from her accusations.

Testifying before the House Financial Services Committee’s Oversight and Investigations subcommittee, CFPB senior enforcement attorney Angela Martin said she filed complaints against the agency for discrimination and retaliation last year after a fellow employee discriminated against her and her supervisor retaliated against her for reporting it.

An outside investigator hired by the CFPB to look into Martin’s claims decided, after a six-month probe, that they were valid. The investigator, Misty Raucci, reported that she “found that the general environment…is one of exclusion, retaliation, discrimination, nepotism, demoralization, devaluation, and other offensive working conditions which constitute a toxic workplace for many of its employees.”

“I am a victim of discrimination by the Bureau dating back to May 2012, and I have suffered severe retaliation since December 2012, which continues through today,” Martin testified. “Sadly, my story is not unique. My colleagues likewise have suffered and are suffering at the hands of inexperienced, unaccountable managers. I am glad this hearing is being held because, based on my observations at the Bureau, I have concluded that the Bureau is sorely in need of effective oversight, and that Bureau management needs to be held accountable, particularly with regards to its internal management practices.”

Martin said that after she filed discrimination complaints last year, Cordray called her at home to tell her to back off.
“On August 7, Director Cordray called me at night and told me that I have to tell my attorneys to back down,” Martin testified.

“I’m sorry, Ms. Martin, you are saying that Director Cordray personally reached out to you and asked or told you to have your attorneys back down?” Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling asked.

“Yes, sir,” Martin said. “August 7 at 8:54 in a two minute conversation he told me to tell my attorneys to back down” because Cordray claimed he was trying to secure her a position in another division of the agency. However, Martin said, Cordray ended up giving the position to someone else.

The CFPB has come under fire in recent weeks after an article in American Banker article reported that the agency’s supervisors “show a pattern of ranking white employees distinctly better than minorities in performance reviews used to grant raises and issue bonuses” and that “management has been accused in several cases of favoring Caucasian men and of creating a hostile work environment.”

The CFPB was invited to send representatives to the hearing, but no one representing the agency attended.


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