Magazine article American Banker

Treasury Office Accused of Deceiving Congressional Auditors

Magazine article American Banker

Treasury Office Accused of Deceiving Congressional Auditors

Article excerpt

Byline: Kevin Wack

A U.S. Treasury Department office allegedly manipulated information that it turned over to congressional auditors and provided misleading answers during interviews.

That's according to a scathing statement Thursday from the Government Accountability Office, the watchdog agency that reports to Congress. In its 11-page statement, the GAO blasted the Office of Financial Research, which was established by the Dodd-Frank Act to improve the quality of financial data that is available to regulators and to conduct research related to financial stability.

The GAO's findings provide new grist for congressional Republicans who have long been hostile to OFR. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., raised the question Thursday of whether the embattled Treasury office should be shut down.

"From studies that impugn the workplace culture, to low morale, multiple ongoing investigations, and today's harsh criticism of OFR by the Government Accountability Office, it appears to both outsiders and insiders that this organization is completely dysfunctional," Wagner said.

The GAO said that it launched its review of OFR in January 2015, but was stymied by agency officials who dragged their feet.

"Many meetings took months to schedule, some were canceled with short notice, and responses to requests for documentation and other information were delayed," said Lawrence Evans, a managing director at GAO, in the statement.

In June 2016, GAO was contacted by a whistleblower who alleged misconduct inside of OFR in connection with the congressional watchdog's audit. …

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