Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL) have introduced legislation to improve transparency and increase accountability at the Office of Financial Research created by the Dodd-Frank Act. The Office of Financial Research Accountability Act, H.R. 5037, would also bolster cybersecurity protections at the OFR since, in the view of Rep. Royce, the OFR holds a great deal of sensitive information and must be protected from bad actors. The legislation would require the OFR to develop and implement a cybersecurity plan that will be annually reviewed by the GAO; and require the OFR to release an annual work plan outlining its priorities. The measure would also require the OFR, when preparing a report on a specific entity or a financial product or service, to consult the federal regulatory agencies with expertise in regulating that entity or product or service.
After a devastating financial crisis., noted Rep. Murphy, the OFR was created to function like the National Transportation Safety Board and find out what went wrong and how to prevent it in the future. Instead, the OFR has come under heavy criticism after the quality of reporting and quantity of research was found lacking. The legislation is designed to restore confidence in the OFR so that Congress and the Financial Stability Oversight Council will have access to an improved quality of financial data. The Financial Institutions Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee has set a hearing on H.R. 5037 for July 15, 2014.