Friday, December 02, 2011

House Panel Requests Quarterly Reports on Spending from CFPB

The House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations has requested that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau provide it with ongoing quarterly reports for FY 2012 on Federal Reserve transfers and obligations by class, with the reports to be delivered within two weeks after the end of the quarter. In a letter to the Bureau, Chairman Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) also requested a five-year capital plan from the CFPB, including IT hardware, software and services, vehicles, major equipment, facilities and leases, as well as research and performance measures. In the letter, Chairman Neugebauer also asked for information on FY 2011, including a detailed quarterly accounting of transfers from the Fed and of obligations by kind of service for obligations incurred. He also wants the number of positions filled by quarter and by pay band.

The Chairman also requests information about the salaries of CFPB personnel, including the median 2011 annual salary for employees in each department of the Bureau, as well as a spreadsheet listing each position currently held by an employee or contractor at the CFPB along with a description of the position title. The Bureau should respond by December 16, 2011.

Noting that Congress has heard from the Fed that the Bureau requested $28 million more from the Fed that was estimated for FY 2011 in the budget, Chairman Neugebauer said that this amount was 21 percent more than estimated in the budget. While the Dodd-Frank Act allows for such transfers up to certain limits, the Chairman requested a written account of the why the additional $28 million was requested from the Fed.

More broadly, he said that the oversight committee has a duty to account for money authorized to be spent by legislative action. Congress wants to know what goods and services have been purchased by the CFPB, to what purpose they will be put, and what benefit the American people will derive from the resulting Bureau action. This is an important and relevant inquiry, noted Chairman Neugebauer, because every dollar transferred to the CFPB is a dollar that cannot be put towards deficit reduction.

Chairman Neugebauer is a strong advocate for bringing the CFPB within the congressional appropriations process. Earlier this year, he introduced the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Accountability and Transparency Act. HR 1355, designed to move the CFPB from the Federal Reserve to the Treasury where it would not be autonomous, and place the Bureau within the regular appropriations process. The legislation would repeal the requirement of an annual transfer to the Bureau of funds from the Federal Reserve System.