Senate Republicans call on FDIC chief to resign over harrassment allegations

Five Republican senators on the Senate Banking Committee called on Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Chair Martin Gruenberg to step down over allegations that he fostered a culture that was hostile and damaging toward women.

In a Thursday letter, Sens. Tim Scott (S.C.), Thom Tillis (N.C.), Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.), Kevin Cramer (N.D.) and Steve Daines (Mont.) said the agency needs to be helmed by someone with “more credibility.” Scott is the top Republican on the Banking panel, which oversees the FDIC and other financial regulators.

“We call on you to step down as Chairman and Board Member and allow someone with more credibility to address the hostile workplace culture at the FDIC to which you have contributed,” they wrote.

The senators also pressed Gruenberg on allegations that a culture of harassment and misogyny flourished at the agency during his tenure. The claims were the result of a Wall Street Journal investigation, in which more than 100 current and former FDIC officials were interviewed.

They included more than a dozen questions for Gruenberg about his alleged conduct and requests for records related to the allegations, which they called “deeply disturbing.” The senators requested a list of all complaints or investigations related to gender discrimination, sexual harassment, or a hostile work environment in recent years.

The Journal’s bombshell investigation characterized the FDIC as a wild and heavy-drinking agency in which lewd behavior was both tolerated and encouraged.

“The FDIC’s 11-story hotel outside Washington, where out-of-town employees stay when attending training, was a party hub, where people have vomited in the elevator and urinated off the roof after nights of heavy drinking,” according to the article.

“The carousing spawned an Instagram account that posted in 2021: ‘If you haven’t puked off the roof, were you ever really a FIS?’ — referring to a bank examiner-in-training.”

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