Republican Congressman Jeb Hensarling, who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, called on the CFPB this week to end its closed-door meeting policy for its four advisory groups. Those groups consist of the Community Bank Advisory Council, the Credit Union Advisory Council, the Academic Research Council, and the Consumer Advisory Board.
The Committee’s press release charges that the groups “conduct virtually all of their business behind closed doors – refusing requests by members of the public and even a member of Congress to attend them. The meetings are also closed to the press.” As an example, the press release references the agenda for the CFPB’s Consumer Advisory Board’s last meeting which showed that only two hours – out of two days’ worth of meetings – were open to the public.
The press release also notes that the CFPB has advised its employees to only include minimal details about agency events on their work calendars. That recommendation was reported to be in guidance given by the CFPB’s FOIA team and obtained by Cause of Action, a government watchdog group.
We have previously criticized the CFPB for the lack of transparency surrounding its advisory groups and industry groups have also registered objections.