Urgent Briefing Called for by GOP Lawmakers over Allegations of Sexual Harassment at FDIC
Republican lawmakers on the House Financial Services Committee are requesting an immediate briefing from a government watchdog in response to widespread reports of sexual harassment at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
Committee Chairman Patrick McHenry of North Carolina and others issued a letter one day after The Wall Street Journal detailed the departure of female employees from the FDIC due to a toxic work environment that the agency had neglected to address.
FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg is expected to be questioned on the matter during Congressional hearings with other top banking regulators this week, including an appearance before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday.
In the letter to Tyler Smith, the FDIC’s acting inspector general, the lawmakers cited reports of a culture perpetuating sexual harassment, misogyny, and other misconduct, labeling this as a severe departure from the agency’s mission.
The FDIC has faced increased scrutiny following a series of costly bank failures earlier this year, two of which were under its supervision.
Gruenberg announced on Monday that the agency would not tolerate sexual harassment and revealed that an external law firm had been hired to review its internal practices.
In 2020, the FDIC Office of Inspector General (OIG) reported inadequate efforts by the FDIC to prevent sexual harassment. The OIG stated that all prior recommendations had been addressed, but did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
“As is our practice, we will continue to monitor management challenges at the FDIC as they are brought to the attention of the OIG, including matters related to sexual harassment,” said FDIC Chief of Staff Jon Lebruto.
(Reporting by Douglas Gillison; Editing by Anna Driver)