By Thomas Catenacci
Daily Caller News Foundation
House oversight and financial committee leaders joined the growing list of Republicans calling for a watchdog probe into reports that officials are being illegally forced out of top federal agencies.
House Oversight Committee Ranking Member James Comer and Financial Services Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions Ranking Member Blaine Luetkemeyer both signaled support for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) inspector general to immediately investigate the allegations. Since President Joe Biden took office, senior CFPB officials have been forced out to make way for individuals closely aligned with the White House agenda, according to a recent GovExec report.
“Democrats falsely claimed President Trump was trying to create a patronage system, yet today they’re casting a blind eye as reports surface [that] the Biden Administration is attempting to push out career federal employees at the CFPB who served during the previous administration,” Comer told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement. “An investigation into these allegations is necessary.”
“I hope the Inspector General looks into this matter immediately before we lose any career civil servants who effectively and efficiently execute their duties,” he continued.
The Biden administration has offered generous separation incentives to CFPB officials who worked for the agency under former President Donald Trump, according to GovExec. The CFPB has even opened a frivolous investigation into one top official, forcing them to step aside until the probe concludes, GovExec reported.
“The Biden Administration using potentially unlawful actions to force out career staff simply because they’re not liberal enough should be concerning for all members of Congress,” Luetkemeyer, who is also the top Republican on the House Committee on Small Business, told the DCNF. “These are very serious allegations and they should be looked into.”
In October, Trump signed an executive order to give agencies a “greater degree of appointment flexibility.” However, immediately after taking office in January, Biden reversed Trump’s order, affirming his commitment to the “foundations of the civil service and its merit system principles.”
Democrats including Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney had accused Trump of attempting to create a patronage system whereby career civil servants could easily be fired and replaced. Maloney and Rep. Gerry Connolly, who chairs the House Oversight Subcommittee on Government Operations, introduced legislation that would restrict the Trump administration’s ability to cause turnover within the federal workforce.
Maloney, Connolly, Sen. Gary Peters and Sen. Tom Carper wrote to the Government Accountability Office, warning that the executive order could trigger a “mass exodus” from the federal government at the end of every administration.
In addition to Comer and Luetkemeyer, House Oversight Subcommittee on Government Operations Ranking Member Jody Hice and Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Pat Toomey have also raised the alarm on the alleged hiring practices of the CFPB. Both asked the CFPB inspector general to review the matter soon.
“The federal government is not a patronage system. It is supposed to be merit based,” Hice said Tuesday. “The inspector general must launch an investigation to stop this abuse.”
But the CFPB denied the allegations that it broke any employment laws in a statement to the DCNF last week. The agency said it would respond shortly to Toomey’s letter requesting more information.
Maloney and Connolly didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
This story originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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