The Rise and Fall of Hope and Change

The Rise and Fall of Hope and Change

Alexis de Toqueville

The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.
Alexis de Tocqueville

The United States Capitol Building

The United States Capitol Building

The Constitutional Convention

The Constitutional Convention

The Continental Congress

The Continental Congress

George Washington at Valley Forge

George Washington at Valley Forge

Friday, March 23, 2012

JW Uncovers More Documents Detailing Bloated Fed Salaries at Government Finance Agencies

From Judicial Watch:

JW Uncovers More Documents Detailing Bloated Fed Salaries at Government Finance Agencies

A few months back you may recall that Judicial Watch reported that hundreds of federal financial regulators were taking in pay exceeding $225,000.00 - with more than 20 of the individuals making more than a quarter million dollars per year.  (By way of comparison, as CNS News has 
pointed out, these consumer "protection" bureaucrats are making more money than members of Congress, including the Speaker of the House!)

Well, given the failing economy and our massive federal deficit spending, Judicial Watch's discovery led to a barrage of press reports.  Our independent investigation once again caught the attention of Congress, specifically the House Financial Services Committee, which held a hearing to investigate the massive growth of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), one of the unfortunate products of the federal bailout scheme.  According to the 
LA Times:

House Republicans...criticized spending by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, whose budget will increase by 26% in 2013 to $448 million, saying lawmakers have no say over how the agency doles out the money....

The committee summoned the agency's newly installed director, Richard Cordray, to a hearing on the agency's spending plans for 2013 and criticized some of the salaries it has been paying and, more broadly, what they said was a lack of detail on its budget.

Under the 2010 financial reform law, the agency doesn't get its money through the congressional appropriations process. Instead, the money comes from a separate, dedicated funding stream from the Federal Reserve's coffers....

Rep. Bill Posey (R-Fla.) grilled Cordray on salaries at the bureau, citing findings by watchdog group Judicial Watch that an intern was earning $42,000 annually and an associate director for consumer education was earning $251,000 a year.  Such high salaries were unjustified, he said.

(Click here for 
some background on Cordray.)

Following this hearing, Judicial Watch released documents providing more details regarding these bloated salaries. In fact, thanks to the persistence of JW's investigations team, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) was finally forced to disclose the names and salaries of its top-earning bureaucrats.

You can read the documents in their entirety 
here, but the following are just a few egregious examples: On December 5, 2010, the OCC promoted Joyce Cofield to Executive Director of Workforce Diversity. Her starting pay in that position was $246,600. The OCC also adjusted the pay of its Deputy Comptroller for Public Affairs Robert Garsson to a salary of $247,500. Larry Hattix was paid $246,081 in his slot as Ombudsman. 

Perhaps the most curious hire was the intern referenced by Congressman Posey.  Kevin Kenneth Lownds, then a second-year student at Georgetown University Law Center, who volunteered on July 6, 2010, to intern at the Obama Treasury Department starting on August 30, 2010. He was later transferred to the CFPB along with a request that Human Resources create a paid position for Lownds because there was no specific opening to be filled.  Human Resources did just that, installing Lownds in a position paying $42,209 per year. 

Within six weeks of starting at CFPB, Mr. Lownds' rate of pay increased another $9,411 for a total of $51,620!

(Remember, this was all taking place when the rest of the federal government was under an alleged pay freeze.)

Now, as I told you a few months back when we released the original documents, in some cases these agencies hired employees at salaries twice the maximum ordinarily allowed under guidelines published each year by the Office of Personnel Management.  The OCC originally failed to provide the legal authority for this shocking departure from policy.

Well, this time they came clean. According to the 
documents, most of the agency's increases during the period requested by Judicial Watch relied on a law specific to OCC, which provides that its compensation can be set "without regard to the provisions of other laws applicable to officers or employees of the United States."

In other words, when it comes to compensation guidelines, these agencies answer to no one. This is precisely the kind of waste and fraud one might expect to take place when the government creates whole new federal agencies to "manage" the affairs of the private sector.

These financial agency salary documents are a perfect example of the type of gamesmanship our investigations team has to endure on a daily basis from the super secretive Obama administration. Judicial Watch had to push hard for these documents. Finally, the OCC's Deputy Counsel 
admitted to an error in the initial document production: "Having reviewed this matter, we have determined that some of the information that was previously withheld from you should be provided to you," he wrote in correspondence accompanying the documents.

Again, congratulations to our investigations team for staying persistent and aggressive.

No comments:

Post a Comment