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House Republicans launch probe into sexual harassment and discrimination allegations at FDIC

The Republicans said in a letter to the FDIC head that "the allegations of a culture of tolerating harassment at the FDIC weakens the credibility of your agency."

Published: November 20, 2023 11:45am

House Republicans on Monday said they are launching a probe into reports of sexual harassment and discrimination at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

The investigation is being led by Health Care and Financial Services Subcommittee Chairwoman Lisa McClain, R-Mich., and Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., following an explosive Wall Street Journal report last week alleging that FDIC Chair Martin Gruenberg failed to address a culture of sexual harassment and discrimination at his agency. 

"The reports by The Wall Street Journal describe an abusive culture of sexual harassment, and discrimination within the FDIC, and a lack of internal processes encouraging reporting and effective responses to such allegations," the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Gruenberg

"FDIC was established to restore and maintain confidence in times of crisis. On the heels of several bank failures which shook confidence in the banking system and led the Biden Administration to take unprecedented steps to contain further panic, the allegations of a culture of tolerating harassment at the FDIC weakens the credibility of your agency," the Republicans also wrote, referring to how so far in 2023, five banks have failed.

Three of the banks that failed – First Republic Bank, Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank – are among the top four largest banking failures in U.S. history, per the comparison service Bankrate.com.

The lawmakers also cited a 2020 FDIC inspector general report that found the agency had "not established an adequate sexual harassment prevention program and should improve its policies, procedures, and training to facilitate the reporting of sexual harassment allegations."

The Republicans asked for the FDIC to provide information by Dec. 4 about all reports or investigations related to hostile or inappropriate actions by FDIC employees from Jan. 1, 2021, until present. They also asked for communications related to sexual misconduct allegations and a list of individuals who have been reassigned over such allegations, among other things. 

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