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The Overview Published: May 9, 2024

WSJ Editorial Board: Where’s the Outrage Over the FDIC?

WASHINGTON—Despite allegations of harassment, bullying, and discrimination rampant within the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) that were confirmed this week by an outside law-firm audit, President Biden has taken no action to hold FDIC leadership accountable. “The silence about the FDIC is another example of how little accountability there is in government,” The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board noted in their latest editorial.

In a letter to President Biden yesterday, House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.), Subcommittee on Health Care and Financial Services Chairwoman Lisa McClain (R-Mich.), and Representative Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) raised concerns about FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg’s leadership and questioned why President Biden has taken no action to hold him accountable for accusations of abuse and fired him. The House Committee on Oversight and Accountability has launched a probe into allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination at the FDIC. Oversight Committee lawmakers are concerned that culture of harassment weakens the credibility of an agency established to maintain confidence in financial institutions in times of crisis.

Key Excerpts:

“An outside law-firm audit on Tuesday exposed years of harassment and failed management at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and the reaction in Washington has been . . . no big deal. Where’s the outrage from Elizabeth Warren and President Biden when you really need it?

“’I’m not joking when I say this: If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I promise you I will fire you on the spot,’ Mr. Biden said upon taking office in January 2021. ‘On the spot. No ifs or buts.’

“Unless, apparently, you run the FDIC, as Chairman Martin Gruenberg has for 10 of the last 13 years. The audit by the law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, commissioned by the agency, found that roughly one in 10 employees complained of sexual harassment, discrimination, or other personal misconduct in the workplace.


“Mr. Biden promoted Mr. Gruenberg to chairman in 2022 at the urging of Sen. Warren and others on the left. ‘I applaud President Biden’s decision to nominate Martin Gruenberg to lead the FDIC,’ Ms. Warren said at the time. ‘He has spent his entire career fighting for American consumers, and he is well equipped to continue defending the banking system from new and existing threats.’


“She’s probably afraid that if Mr. Gruenberg is forced out, the chairmanship would fall to Vice Chairman Travis Hill, a Republican. The bank regulator is supposed to be run in a bipartisan fashion but has demonstrated marked hostility to banks under Mr. Gruenberg and his fellow FDIC board member Rohit Chopra, who is also a Warren protectorate.

“The silence about the FDIC is another example of how little accountability there is in government. Even when there’s a long and specific report demonstrating mismanagement and an abusive culture, it stirs nothing more than a yawn if the offenders are Democrats in good progressive standing.”

Read the full editorial here.

READ MORE: Comer, McClain, Biggs to Biden: Why Have You Not Fired FDIC Chair Gruenberg?McClain, Biggs Launch Probe into Allegations of Sexual Harassment and Discrimination at Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation