Consumer agency spent $5,000 on frosted windows for senior staff

Unfolding drama at CFPB

NEW YORK — Documents obtained by The Associated Press show the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has spent more than $5,000 frosting the windows on the offices of senior staff in recent months.

The money spent on window frosting comes only months after the CFPB moved into renovated offices at a cost of more than $240 million. CFPB head Mick Mulvaney, before he took over the agency, once said he wanted to eliminate it.

CFPB receipts show the bureau ordered window frosting film twice, once in September 2017 and again in early February. The frosting film has been used on the offices of the top political staffers as well as conference rooms, according to a person familiar with the matter. This person requested anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak on the record.

The bureau has declined to say why the senior staff needs frosted windows.

But that is far from the only expense that has come under scrutiny at the CFPB since Mulvaney took over. has given big pay raises to the deputies he has hired to help him run the bureau, according to salary records obtained by The Associated Press.

Mulvaney has hired at least eight political appointees since he took over the bureau in late November. Four of them are making $259,500 a year and one is making $239,595. That is more than the salaries of members of Congress, cabinet secretaries, and nearly all federal judges apart from those who sit on the Supreme Court.

The salary records came as part of a records request submitted by the AP earlier this year.

While most of the federal government follows a universal pay scale, some government agencies and departments have gotten waivers to use their own separate pay scales. One of those agencies is the Federal Reserve, the nation's central bank. Since the CFPB is technically part of the Federal Reserve, its employees get paid at a higher scale than their general government counterparts.

The top salary under the general federal government pay scale is $134,776, not including adjustments for the higher cost of living in areas like New York City or Washington, D.C., according to the Office of Personnel Management. The top pay bracket for a Federal Reserve employee is $250,000.

But when he was a congressman, Mulvaney co-sponsored a bill to eliminate the CFPB, an agency he saw as unnecessary. CFPB was founded in response to the financial crisis in 2010.

When he was in Congress, Mulvaney was a major proponent of fiscal responsibility.