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Whistleblower reveals federal agency falsified documents to target a private business
mariordo59 / CCL
If you can’t justify the existence of your agency and the costs associated with maintaining it you can just make up justifications instead. Or worse, make up a lawsuit to steal money from a business to make your agency look necessary.
That was the result of a report by a federal whistleblower, a former employee of the controversial Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She claims that her bosses at the agency told her to falsify evidence in order to impose enormous fines upon a payday lender, and she’s asking for a federal investigation.
AG is notified
In a letter sent last week to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, former CFPB employee Cassandra Jackson also accused her managers of “widespread racism and gender discrimination.” She began her employment there in 2011 as an examiner in the bureau’s Southwest Division.
Jackson told Sessions that she was instructed to falsify records and reports after examining Ace Cash Express, a Texas-based payday lender.
“During the course of this examination, I was asked to change, remove, and otherwise falsify documents connected with this examination,” she wrote.
She told Sessions that she was told to remove a document that would have proved that Ace was in compliance with the law. She wrote:
I was specifically told to cite Ace Cash Express for a violation for which I had verified the company was in compliance and to state that Ace Cash Express did not provide, and that the CFPB did not receive, documents that would have satisfied the CFPB’s guidelines, despite having received that information from Ace Cash Express.
Huge settlement and retaliation
Jackson said that when she followed her conscience by refusing to falsify the records as ordered, her managers punished her and then “proceeded to modify the report” against Ace themselves. Their actions led to a $10 million settlement with the lending company. The Washington Free Beacon reported:
The CFPB took enforcement action against Ace Cash Express in July 2014. The CFPB said the company pushed “payday borrowers into a cycle of debt” and forced the company to offer $5 million in refunds and pay a $5 million fine.
Jackson said after refusing to falsify records, managers informed her she was “not performing” at grade level and subjected to disciplinary action.
She then told the attorney general what she wanted.
“I encourage you to initiate an investigation into this matter, as well as civil rights violations at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,” Jackson wrote. “During my nearly five years at the Bureau, I encountered widespread racism and gender discrimination from management.”
She added that because of an “incredibly hostile work environment and the retaliation I continued to receive from management at the CFPB due to the Ace Cash Express incident,” she was eventually forced out of the CFPB.
Battle of the bosses
Late last month, two bosses showed up at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — Mick Mulvaney, who President Donald Trump appointed to temporarily take over the agency, and Leandra English, the agency’s other acting director.
Mulvaney, who is also the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget and is no fan of the CFPB, brought donuts. English, an Obama administration holdover who represents the old way of doing business, did not. Trump’s choice eventually won out in court, despite English’s filing of a federal lawsuit.
Mulvaney’s own boss has a similar view of the agency.
“The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, has been a total disaster as run by the previous Administrations pick,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Financial Institutions have been devastated and unable to properly serve the public. We will bring it back to life!”
Jackson’s experience proves the President’s assessment correct.
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