Thank you Chairman Bachus, and thank you Mr. Cordray for joining us today. This semi-annual report is a critically important event--in part because it is essentially the only chance that Congress has to exercise any oversight of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The Bureau can withdraw more than $550 million each year from the Fed, and no one has any authority to prevent those transfers-- not Congress, not the Fed itself, and not even the President's Office of Management and Budget. The justifications for those transfers are slim at best. Transfer requests can be vague, one-page letters with no details on how the money being requested will be spent.
Mr. Corday, in past appearances before this Committee, you've voiced a commitment to transparency and accountability at the Bureau, and I truly appreciate that.
But I'm concerned that the Bureau's activities haven't borne out that commitment.
I have joined a number of my colleagues on this Committee in sending you repeated requests for details about your financial operating plans, your performance plans, your budget transfer requests, and your building budget. The Bureau did not always respond to these requests, and when it did, the responses were unsatisfactory at best.
For instance, we've never seen a financial operating plan. We have yet to see a performance plan. And the Bureau has refused to provide any public advance notice of its transfer requests.
You have $40 million allocated to land and structures in your FY 2013 budget. But when we asked for a detailed budget on your building plans, we were denied.
I used to be in the homebuilding business, and I can tell you, you don't set a budget after you start building. It's supposed to be the other way around.
I'm also concerned about the salaries that you're paying your employees. The majority of them earn more than $100,000 a year. Five percent earn more than $200,000 per year, which is more than a U.S. Cabinet Secretary makes. And your employees aren't even in the line of succession to the presidency.
You know, consumers and taxpayers are the same people. So I find it ironic that an agency designed to protect consumers has so little accountability to our taxpayers. The Bureau can spend hundreds of millions of dollars with little-to-no-oversight. And every single dollar you receive from the Fed is one less dollar that could be used to reduce our debt.
Our debt has reached $16 trillion dollars. That's enough to carpet the entire states of Delaware, Rhode Island, and Florida in dollar bills. In the time that I've been speaking--only about two minutes, although it might seem longer to some in this room--the debt has grown by $4 million. So I don't think it's unreasonable to insist on detailed justification for any money that is being taken away from debt reduction.
I think you're going to face some tough questions today, Mr. Cordray, and I look forward to hearing your answers.
With that, I yield back the balance of my time.