Some 25 percent of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s African-American, Asian and female employees reported continued discrimination at the bureau, according to the Government Accountability Office. The GAO reported the results of a survey of more than 60 percent of the bureau’s employees on June 20.
The “survey results indicate that employees in some parts of the bureau and in some demographic groups continued to have heightened concerns about unfair treatment, retaliation for raising issues, accountability, and other matters,” GAO said in the report.
While some 85 percent of those polled said their supervisor treated them fairly, more than 30 percent disagreed with the statement that a culture of accountability exists for all employees. Some 33 percent disagreed that success at the CFPB is based more on merit than personal connections or favoritism.
More than 25 percent of CFPB staff said they could not raise concerns or file a complaint without fearing reprisal from a manager. And 23 survey respondents, out of 45 who reported experience with the agency’s equal employment opportunity complaint process, disagreed with the statement that the Office of Civil Rights was a neutral party.
The CFPB went before Congress for a series of hearings in 2014, during which CFPB employees leveled allegations of discrimination and retaliation. At the time, employees also complained in the bureau’s internal survey that bureau managers demonstrated elitism, favoritism, discrimination and a lack of respect.
GAO survey findings came on the heels of another GAO report, published June 20, chiding CFPB management for misstating the allocation of resources for property, equipment and software in the bureau’s financial statements.
The bureau’s misstatement of its expenditure on property, equipment and software corresponded with a period of increased spending in that category. Expenditures on property, equipment and software increased by more than 23 percent at the bureau in 2015, to more than $57 million, up from $46.2 million in 2014, GAO reported in November 2015.
The lack of proper internal accounting controls “could prevent management from making informed decisions about the allocation of resources on a quarterly basis,” GAO said. It added that poor accounting could lead the bureau to “provide misleading information to the users of the financial statements about CFPB’s financial position.”