Can you say waste and abuse?

GOP blasts $215M cost for consumer bureau office with waterfall

By Tim Devaney – 07/02/14 | The Hill

Republican lawmakers blasted renovation plans for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s headquarters after an inspector general report said costs could top $215 million.

Federal Reserve inspector general Mark Bialek wrote that a “sound business case” cannot be made for renovating the building the agency rents at 1700 G St. NW, near the White House.

When first announced four years ago, the renovation project had a $55 million pricetag. By 2012, the CFPB revised the projected cost to $95 million and again last year raised the estimate to $150.8 million.

The CFPB’s renovations, which include a four-story glass staircase, two-story waterfall and a sunken garden, have angered House Republicans who say the agency is being wasteful with taxpayers’ money.

“When they passed the Dodd-Frank Act, Democrats in Congress and the White House made the CFPB unaccountable to taxpayers and to Congress,” House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) said in a statement.

“We’re seeing the results of this dangerous unaccountability today in a Washington bureaucracy that is running amok, spending as much as it wants on whatever it wants,” he continued. “It’s outrageous.”

In January, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), chairman of the Financial Services subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, requested the inspector general report, which his panel released Wednesday.

McHenry slammed the CFPB, calling the findings “deeply troubling.”

“The continuously growing price tag is a tremendous waste of funds and, amazingly, there is still no assurance the $215 million price tag won’t grow higher,” he said in a statement.

McHenry pointed out that the CFPB is spending more than $590 per square foot to renovate the building — far more than the comparative costs for building the Trump World Tower in New York ($334) and Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas ($330).

The CFPB did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the inspector general’s report.

Before Congress in January, CFPB Director Richard Cordray, though, defended the renovations.

Cordray said the agency had selected a “tough building” but denied charges that the renovations were opulent and wasteful.

“The notion that we would try to build some kind of palace that we don’t own or control makes no sense to me,” he told lawmakers.

The renovation costs are only the latest controversy to hit the CFPB, which has been in the crosshairs of House Republicans since it was created. GOP lawmakers have long questioned the structure of the independent agency, because it does not rely on Congress for funding.

Recently, CFPB employees also accused the management of workplace discrimination. One black employee even compared it to working in a “plantation.”

Republicans have seized on those controversies, arguing that the agency needs more congressional oversight.

McHenry on Wednesday said the agency was “unaccountable” to Congress.

“The findings of the inspector general’s investigation are deeply troubling and lead to even more questions about the unaccountable design of the CFPB,” McHenry said.

“It has become abundantly clear that it’s not 1700 G Street that needs an overhaul, but rather the entire structure of the CFPB,” he added. – The Hill

 

So, 590.00 per square foot for a renovation? Apparently they don’t see this as excessive, on a building they don’t even own. I know, this had to be another intentional poke in the eye. How could they not notice this abuse?  If not, I have a water feature they might be interested in trying.

Well, as former congressman James Traficant used to say: “Beam me up, Scotty!”

Give me a “W”. Give me an “A”…….

5 comments on “Can you say waste and abuse?

  1. bullright says:

    Committee on Financial services
    Washington, Jun 18, 2013 –

    The Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee highlighted the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) radical structure at a hearing today, and members continued to express concern that the agency operates without basic oversight and accountability.

    The CFPB, created under the Dodd-Frank Act, is controlled by a single individual who cannot be fired for poor performance and who exercises sole control over the agency, its hiring and its budget.

    For Fiscal Year 2013, the CFPB estimated that it would spend $541 million and increase its staff to more than 1,200. The CFPB is able to spend this money with no oversight from Congress, the President or the Federal Reserve from which it obtains its funding.

    “In the end, this single director can disregard advice and manage as he wishes. He has little accountability to the Administration, and even less to Congress; his budget is secure. As a result, it should come as no surprise that the Bureau has operated with less transparency and less concern for fiscal discipline than is appropriate for a steward of taxpayer funds,” said Subcommittee Chairman Patrick McHenry (R-NC).

    With the lack of Congressional control over appropriations to the CFPB, and the lack of Administration control over the CFPB’s budget, the large budget and broad regulatory discretion conferred upon the CFPB present substantial risk of waste, fraud and abuse.

    “As a result of this lack of accountability, certain expenditures have been called into question, such as the $55 million that has been set aside for renovating the CFPB headquarters building just steps from the White House. Incidentally, $55 million is more than the entire annual construction and acquisition budget for GSA for the totality of federal buildings,” McHenry added, referencing the General Services Administration. […/]
    ———————————-

    Current estimated value of the building is 153 million.

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  2. peppermintfarm says:

    Bull, great find. This is absolutely outrageous. Another agency that has no accountability. We don’t even know how many others are wasting tax payer dollars like this. Any place that costs more to refurbish that Trump or a casino, you know is waaaaaay out of line. This stuff makes me so mad.

    Like

    • bullright says:

      Pepp, yea I share the feeling. I was trying to pull the strings to find out about this supposedly independent department. Above is the proof, it seems accountable to no one. Gee, I wonder if that is contagious? No congressional approval on its budget or anything. With Lizzy Warren’s fingerprints all over it. What could be wrong with all that? So once again we are being set up to be screwed by more bureaucracy. It lookks like a long twisted road with lots of hairpin turns and deadends. Not bad for a video game but an official department? It raises my blood pressure too. Of course the only ones even asking any questions about it is Republicans like Hensarling.

      But spend waste money? They know how to do that.

      Like

  3. thomlucci says:

    Posted a link to this blog post on Facebook. Good post.

    Like

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