CFPB Director Swats Down Congressional Question About $215 Million Spent On New HQ: ‘Why Does That Matter to You?’

This Jan. 8, 2009 file photo shows Ohio's Attorney General Richard Cordray during his swearing-in ceremony in Columbus, Ohio.
AP/Kiichiro Sato

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray told Representative Ann Wagner (R-MO) that it was none of her business how much the agency spent to renovate its lavish new headquarters.

During a Congressional hearing on Tuesday, an angry Wagner asked him to explain who authorized a $215 million expenditure on the “untouchable” agency’s new headquarters, Cordray sounded eerily like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who offered a similar response to questions posed in Congressional hearings last year about the 2012 murders of four Americans at the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

“Why does that matter to you?” Cordray condescendingly responded to Wagner’s legitimate question.

Watch the exchange between Cordray and Wagner, in which Cordray rudely interrupts Wagner four times in 30 seconds, here:

Here’s a partial transcript of that exchange:

Wagner: Someone made a decision to spend upward of, as the Fed IG [Federal Reserve Inspector General] said, an estimate of $215.8 million [on the new CFBP headquarters] and you’re telling me there’s no record, no one responsible…

Cordray interrupts Wagner for the first time: I didn’t say that.

Wagner: for who . . . then who is it, what individual . . .

Cordray interrupts Wagner for the second time: I mean, there’s lots of records on this, including my reaffirmation.

Wagner: Who signed off? Who gave the authorization for such …

Cordray interrupts Wagner for the third time: And why does that matter to you?

Wagner: Because it’s $215 million of taxpayers money . . .

Cordray interrupts Wagner for the fourth time: No it’s not $215 million.

Wagner: That’s why it matters to me.

The House Financial Services Committee said this on Wednesday about the interaction between Cordray and Wagner at the committee’s hearing on Tuesday:

So when CFPB Director Richard Cordray appeared before the committee yesterday, Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO) took the opportunity to find out.

Director Cordray’s answer is not the type of answer one would expect from the leader of an accountable and transparent federal agency that respects the value of a dollar.

Breitbart News asked the CFPB to respond to the House Financial Services Committee characterization that Director Cordray’s response to Rep. Wagner was “not the type of answer one would expect from the leader of an accountable and transparent federal agency that respects the value of a dollar.”

Breitbart News also asked the CFPB whether Director Cordray’s frequent interruptions of Representative Wagner was rude behavior, and if so, if he or the agency would be issuing an apology to Representative Wagner.

The CFPB has not responded to our inquiries.

The CFPB was established as a virtually unaccountable independent agency when President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010. Along with the Department of Justice and the FDIC, it is a key player in the Obama administration’s Operation Choke Point, an under-the-radar project launched in 2013 to destroy pay day lenders, tobacco retailers, firearm dealers, and pawn shops by “choking off” their relationships with banks and other financial institutions.

You can read the Federal Reserve Inspector General’s report on the CFPB’s headquarters renovations, released in June 2014, here.

Despite the fireworks between Cordray and Wagner in the hearings on Tuesday, Republicans in Congress have done little to push back against the CFPB’s abuses of executive power besides introducing several bills that have, to date, gone nowhere in either the House or the Senate.


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