The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Washington, D.C. headquarters is in the middle of massive renovations—and expensive ones at that.
As the Daily Caller’s Richard Pollock recently reported, renovation costs for the new CFPB headquarters have skyrocketed, posting 25 percent in cost overruns. Original cost estimates for the agency’s renovation came in at $55 million, but the CFPB ran up the proposed cost to $216 million. The proposal was so egregious that the Federal Reserve Inspector General rejected it in 2014, claiming there was no “sound basis” for the estimated figure.
As renovation costs continued to escalate, the project was ultimately taken out of the CFPB’s hands and transferred to the General Services Administration (GSA). GSA’s budget, however, was nearly double initial estimates, hitting $99 million. According to the Daily Caller investigation, the GSA’s budget ballooned to more than $124 million in the end.
CFPB employees have plenty to be thankful for. In Pollock’s words: They now “come to work in a building that features many high-end touches, including lounge seats for their plaza deck, sunken garden areas, male and female fitness rooms, and credenzas with quartz surfaces and premium drywall.” The agency even spent $88,000 for bike racks and parking striping in the garage.
But White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, the acting CFPB director, is rightly standing up for taxpayers: “Some of the obvious questions I asked myself when walking into the renovated Bureau headquarters on my first day as Acting Director were: Who initially authorized these renovations, were they absolutely necessary, and were adequate cost controls in place? As I begin to focus on the Bureau’s budget, I hope to discover the facts behind these excesses and help ensure abuses won’t happen again.”
If there is a Washington swamp, then the CFPB is its poster child. Taxpaying Americans are rooting for Mulvaney to drain it.