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Ernst: Enough of the FDIC’s Frisky Business

After reports of sexual harassment and discrimination at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) is investigating Chairman Martin Gruenberg, calling on him to resign, and demanding any evidence of criminal wrongdoing by agency employees be turned over to the Department of Justice and local law enforcement for potential prosecution.

Notably, while the FDIC was allowing this frisky business to go on within its own walls, it was failing at its mission of monitoring the risky business of banking institutions: three of the four largest bank failures occurred just this year.

The Wall Street Journal’s recent exposés—based on the accounts and experiences of more than 100 current and former FDIC employees, most of whom are women—revealed this reprehensible behavior is not only being tolerated, but rewarded. The world now knows what the women of the FDIC have known for more than a decade: you and your predecessors have utterly failed them,” Ernst wrote.

In her oversight letter, Ernst pointed out that the FDIC must be held to the same standard as the banks they regulate and highlighted how a New York bank had to pay penalties for female workers subjected to discrimination.

“The FDIC has the legal authority to fire individuals who engage in misconduct and disregard for the well-being of a banking institution. These same standards should be applied to the employees at the FDIC who engaged in this revolting behavior,” Ernst continued.

To ensure accountability for taxpayer dollars, Ernst demanded to know how much money the FDIC has agreed to pay due to workplace misconduct related litigation as well as the records for the operating budget and budget for custodial services related to the FDIC’s “boozy hotel” in Arlington. She also requested whether the FDIC has entered into any non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) with current or former employees, how Americans’ interest was furthered by these NDAs, and reports on all complaints, investigations, or other allegations alleging hostile, inappropriate, or retaliatory behavior in the workplace.

“The civil servants these monsters abused are owed more than just an apology, they deserve justice. The women of the FDIC will not have justice until every perpetrator of criminal activity, past and present, receives a verdict from a jury of their peers…If you do not aggressively pursue each of the allegations and proactively share the findings with law enforcement, Congress, and the American people, I will. You can take that to the bank,” she concluded in the letter.

Ernst was one of the first senators to call for Gruenberg’s resignation.

Read the full letter here.


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