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Maxine Waters, Ranking Member, Delivers Opening Statement During Hearing on Oversight of the FDIC: “… Republicans Are Attacking the Democratic Chair… But Will [They] Call for Anyone Who Has Been Found Liable for Sexual Abuse to Stand Down from Holding Other Positions of Power in Government, Like, for Example, the Former President…”

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, delivered the following opening statement during a full Committee hearing entitled, “Oversight of the FDIC’s Failed Leadership and Toxic Workplace Culture.”

Good morning. Thank you to our witnesses for being here today, including Acting Comptroller Hsu who testified just a few weeks ago. As Committee Democrats have made very, very clear, all FDIC employees deserve a safe work environment.

Unfortunately, as the Cleary report details, this has not been the case under the leadership of both Republican and Democratic chairs. In fact, according to the report, the FDIC has had a troubling workplace culture since the 1980s. I’m pleased that the FDIC has begun implementing the reforms necessary, and I’m pleased that the White House is reportedly nominating a proven leader, CFTC Commissioner Christy Goldsmith-Romero, to lead this effort as FDIC Chair.

However, I am concerned that the report we are discussing may not tell the full story. For example, while the report focuses on the current Chair, I want to know why the report doesn’t examine how and why former FDIC Chair Jelena McWilliams and her senior staff, including the current FDIC Vice Chair, Travis Hill, did not do more to ensure FDIC workers had a safe workplace during their tenure – both before and after the Inspector General identified a number of concerns relating to sexual harassment way back in 2020.

Additionally, the report does not include critical data needed to understand the location and rate of misconduct over time and which types of misconduct are currently the most prevalent. My staff asked Cleary to provide this information, but they did not. This information could significantly impact what types of reforms the FDIC leadership should prioritize and where they should be implemented.

Now, while this Committee should be focused on the employees and exploring ways to strengthen worker protections, Republicans are attacking the Democratic Chair who has already announced he will step down, but you won’t hear them call for Republican Vice Chair Travis Hill to step down – despite him being a senior official under former Chair McWilliams when allegations of misconduct persisted. I also wonder whether my colleagues will call for anyone who has been found liable for sexual abuse to stand down from holding other positions of power in government, like for example, the former President and top Republican. He is not only an adjudicated sexual abuser, but also the first and only former president to be criminally convicted of not one, not two but 34 felonies relating to violating election laws. Twice impeached, he also faces three more criminal indictments for his efforts to overturn the election and steal highly sensitive and classified national security documents and stash them at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

Thankfully, President Biden is quickly taking steps to protect workers at the FDIC by reportedly nominating CFTC Commissioner Christy Goldsmith Romero to serve as FDIC chair. Commissioner Goldsmith Romero has a long track record of working to protect our nation’s investors, consumers, and taxpayers. When she served as Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, she successfully held accountable bank executives who engaged in financial crimes and fraud. She has been unanimously confirmed by the Senate twice. If Republicans are committed to changing the work culture at the FDIC, I expect that they will join with Democrats to support her swift Senate confirmation.

I yield back.


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