A government watchdog criticized the
The inspector general's report, released Wednesday, said bureau officials have been "unable to locate any documentation of the decision to fully renovate the building."
The bureau also failed to follow its own guidelines for approval by an internal investment review board because a required analysis of alternatives to the renovation was not completed, the report said.
"We cannot conclude whether a complete analysis would have altered the decision to approve funding for the renovation," said the report by the
Under the Dodd-Frank law, the bureau's funding comes directly from the Federal Reserve and does not have go through the congressional appropriations process. Congressional Republicans have been trying to change that arrangement as well as make other alterations to the bureau's structure that would weaken its power.
“When they passed the Dodd-Frank Act, Democrats in
"We're seeing the results of this dangerous unaccountability today in a Washington bureaucracy that is running amok, spending as much as it wants on whatever it wants," he said. "It's outrageous."
The bureau is renovating the seven-story downtown Washington building that previously housed the Office of Thrift Supervision, which was closed as part of the 2010 overhaul of financial regulations.
Bureau officials said the 36-year-old building needed significant renovations, including updating its electrical and ventilation systems.
"The CFPB's headquarters is a government asset that is past its prime and needs to be brought up to current standards," bureau spokeswoman Jen Howard said Wednesday. "Government buildings are frequently renovated."
But the estimated cost of the project has been rising, adding to the ire of Republicans.
Howard said the bureau "has been open and transparent about our cost estimates."
Howard said including other expenses, such as rental costs, in the renovation estimate "is incorrect and misleading."
Hensarling and Rep.
"The continuously growing price tag is a tremendous waste of funds and, amazingly, there is still no assurance the $216-million price tag won't grow higher," McHenry said.
The per-square-foot estimate was made by the Financial Services Committee staff, which excluded the building's parking garage and retail space because they are not being renovated, said committee spokesman Jeff Emerson.
The federal General Services Administration, which is managing the renovation, estimated it would cost much less per square foot -- about $250, which is in line with other recent similar projects. The agency used construction costs of $126 million and the building's total square footage.
The inspector general's report did not include a cost per square foot.