Republican Senators Call for Resignation of FDIC Chair due to Allegations of Workplace Misconduct

Five Republican senators on the Senate Banking Committee are calling for the resignation of Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) Chairman Martin Gruenberg over allegations of workplace misconduct. In a letter dated December 7, Senators Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) have requested Mr. Gruenberg to provide information regarding the claims of a hostile environment at the agency, citing reports of mishandling of sexual harassment and discrimination allegations and Mr. Gruenberg’s involvement in these cases during his tenure.

The senators criticized the allegations, calling them “deeply disturbing and unacceptable,” especially at a federal agency, urging Mr. Gruenberg to step down as chairman and board member. They highlighted their concerns about his ability to lead the FDIC and demanded that he provide records of complaints and investigations during his tenure by January 4, 2024.

The FDIC’s inspector general’s office announced that it will conduct a special inquiry into the leadership climate and all forms of harassment and inappropriate behavior at the agency.

The Wall Street Journal’s reporting revealed a prevalent culture of harassment at the FDIC, with the workplace culture being described as a “boys club,” and misogynistic behavior facing little to no consequences. The newspaper also reported that many women quit the FDIC due to the intense harassment, and internal complaints about Mr. Gruenberg’s fierce temper and inaction to address the issues.

The allegations also included cases of racism within the organization, with a group of black employees expressing concerns to then-Chair Jelena McWilliams in 2018 about mistreatment and fear of repercussions for speaking out about their issues.

In a response to these grievances, the FDIC adjusted its promotion and ratings systems to rely more on merit, attempting to address the workplace culture issues.

The senators’ call for Mr. Gruenberg’s resignation comes after a series of reports on alleged misconduct at the FDIC, prompting scrutiny of the federal agency’s handling of harassment and discrimination cases. The lawmakers’ demand for accountability has put pressure on Mr. Gruenberg, who is facing allegations of allowing a culture of harassment and discrimination to persist and flourish, raising concerns about the agency’s ability to maintain public confidence in the nation’s financial system.

The senators’ push for him to step down highlights the growing scrutiny of workplace misconduct allegations at the FDIC, with the expectation for a transparent and accountable response from the agency amid the ongoing investigation. As the FDIC faces allegations of mishandling workplace misconduct complaints—specifically sexual harassment and discrimination—there is a clear need for public accountability and a comprehensive response to address the allegations and rebuild trust in the agency as it seeks to remedy its workplace culture.

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