The Republican Governors Association released a new TV ad Wednesday highlighting Richard Cordray’s failure to protect his employees against racial and gender discrimination at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau while serving as director of the agency under President Obama.
Cordray, a Democrat and former Ohio attorney general, is squaring off against the current attorney general, Republican Mike DeWine, in a gubernatorial race that will be decided on Nov. 6.
The Ohio Star brought to light the issue of rampant discrimination at the CFPB in an in-depth investigative feature last week.
Now, the Republican Governors are hoping to bring more attention to Cordray’s record as head of the agency created under the direction of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
According to The Star‘s earlier report, Warren hand-picked most of the agency’s top managers, including Cordray.
The new ad, dubbed “Richard Cordray Let it Happen,” says Cordray let down his employees in a major way. When he was alerted to the problem of bias and discrimination against women and minorities, he did nothing to correct it.
An oversight subcommittee of the U.S House Committee on Financial Services held five hearings between 2013 and 2015 on the problems of discrimination at CFPB. The agency’s workplace environment was described as “toxic and retaliatory.”
“On Richard Cordray’s watch, the CFPB was at the center of an investigation for widespread gender and racial discrimination,” said RGA Communications Director Jon Thompson in a statement Wednesday. “CFPB employees faced systemic discrimination under Cordray’s mismanagement, creating a trail of victims. Ohio deserves a governor who will stand up to discrimination, but as his record shows, Richard Cordray can’t be trusted to do so.”
Watch the one-minute TV ad purchased by Republican Governor’s Association below:
The Star still has not heard back from Cordray’s campaign after sending an email last week seeking comment on the allegations of discrimination under his watch.
The ad includes video of congressional testimony by CFPB employee Angela Martin, responding to questioning from Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC-10).
“Emotionally, I’m devastated forever. The fact that this wasn’t addressed when it happened to me has allowed another trail of victims. This is unacceptable. This is overt discrimination and the director should apologize.”
More than 200 complaints were filed between August 2013 and March 2014, with many of the employees describing the abuses as widespread.
Angela Martin, a senior enforcement attorney at the bureau, was one such employee.
In 2014, Martin told lawmakers at an oversight hearing of the House Financial Services Committee, which had an ongoing investigation into the abuses at CFPB, that she was discriminated against by managers. When she complained, she said, she was punished by being isolated from the workforce and stripped of responsibility,” reported Peter Schroeder in an April 2, 2014 article for The Hill titled “Employee Blasts CFPB As Hostile Environment.”
Transcript of the ad as follows:
Voiceover: Richard Cordray’s agency was at the center of a racism and discrimination investigation.
This is the actual testimony from the hearing that investigated.
Angela Martin: “I have never seen anything like this as a total disregard for our rights.”
Voiceover: Discrimination at CFPB under Richard Cordray.
Rep. Patrick McHenry: “So based on everything you’ve seen, do you believe that white male managers have engaged in discrimination against women and minorities?”
Angela Martin: “Yes sir. These employees have come to me personally, people have come to me many times on many occasions, even more so since I came forward…
‘Emotionally I’m devastated forever. The fact that this wasn’t addressed when it happened to me has allowed another trail of victims.
“This is unacceptable. This was overt discrimination and the director should apologize.”
Voiceover: Richard Cordray was the director. Richard Cordray let it happen.
“This was over discrimination and the director should apologize.
Anthony Accardi is a reporter for The Ohio Star.