The Stand

Wells Fargo VP funding efforts to undermine consumer watchdog

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The following is from the Northwest Accountability Project:

grubb-jeffrey-wells-fargoPORTLAND, Ore. (Sept. 23, 2016) — The Northwest Accountability Project this week called upon Wells Fargo to denounce the actions of Executive Vice President Jeffrey Grubb, who as a trustee of the Murdock Charitable Trust, is helping support the funding of organizations working to undermine the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) — the agency responsible for uncovering widespread fraud at Grubb’s place of employment, Wells Fargo.

The CFPB recently hit Wells Fargo with a $185 million fine after it was discovered that thousands of its employees conspired to secretly issue credit cards without a customer’s consent. These employees created fake email accounts to sign up customers for online banking services and set up sham accounts that customers learned about only after they started accumulating fees.

Yet Grubb, a high-ranking official at Wells Fargo, has helped direct millions of dollars to anti-CFPB forces in his other capacity as one of only three trustees of the Murdock Charitable Trust.

“Wells Fargo should be ashamed that one of its own executives has been involved in undermining a federal agency that serves to protect its customers from exactly the kind of fraud the bank has now been linked to,” said Peter Starzynski, Executive Director of the Northwest Accountability Project. “Further, they owe victims of this fraud a clear answer as to whether they support or condemn Grubb’s actions and what if any recourse they might take to address this matter.”

According to the Northwest Accountability Project’s research, the Murdock Charitable Trust has given $300,000 to the Manhattan Institute for Policy Reform, whose legal director slammed the CPFB in a May 2016 article in the National Review that argued that a proposed CFPB rule to protect consumers right to file class action suits was created to help President Obama’s and the CFPB Director’s “trial lawyer friends.”

Just last month, the Manhattan Institute invested heavily in creating a massive report to debunk the rule and criticize the CFPB. The Manhattan Institute is not the only group supported by the Murdock Trust with Wells Fargo’s Grubb as a Trustee that attacked the CFPB.

The Heritage Foundation, which has received more than $3 million from the Murdock Trust, has also written extensively attacking the bureau, calling it “one of the most powerful — and unaccountable — federal agencies ever created.” Heritage also argued that “in the case of the CFPB, the rule of law is being supplanted by regulatory whim, producing deep uncertainty in the consumer financial market.” In the wake of the massive fraud uncovered by the CFPB at Wells Fargo, this kind of hyperbolic rhetoric seems even more unfounded and out of place.

Finally, the Washington Legal Foundation, which has received more than $1.4 million from the Murdock Trust, joined criticism of the CFPB in August 2016 by arguing its actions hurt consumers and were designed to “serve the interests of the class-action plaintiffs’ bar instead.”

“The reality is simple. Mr. Grubb, through his involvement with the Murdock Trust, is funding groups that are opposed to the CFPB, which is in turn beneficial to his employer Wells Fargo. His dual roles have created a corrupt corporate influence, which we call on Wells Fargo to condemn,” said Starzynski.

nw-accountability-projectThe Northwest Accountability Project is a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization dedicated to educating the public on the issues that enhance the well-being of middle-class families and workers while shining a light on extremism and the moneyed special interests that attempt to bring an agenda of hate and division to Washington and Oregon. More info at www.nwaccountabilityproject.org

Short URL: http://www.thestand.org/?p=52179

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