Think Progress’s Lee Fang has done great work revealing how much help Goldman Sachs had been getting from their man on the inside, former VP Peter Haller, who is now a staffer for Rep. Darrell Issa’s Oversight Committee. Issa has been particularly keen on pressuring regulators, “demanding that they justify new Dodd-Frank rules impacting investment banks,” like Goldman Sachs.
That pressure has extended to excessive scrutiny of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and has taken the form of highly personal attacks on the architect and previous interim director of the agency, Elizabeth Warren. You’ll remember this exchange in an oversight hearing, when Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) accused Warren of lying about her schedule and her appearance at the committee.
Guess who set that moment, and Warren, up? That’s right: Peter Haller.
According to e-mail correspondence obtained from Judicial Watch, Haller oversaw the scheduling of the Warren testimony. According to Flavio Cumpiano, a congressional liaison for the CFPB, Haller reportedly changed the time of the hearing at the last minute, then misled Warren staffers by promising to end the testimony by 2:15 pm that day. In the emails, Haller denies ever agreeing to 2:15. But, Haller had been informed that Warren could not go beyond 2:15:
– Monday May 23 8:43pm: Haller writes to Flavio Cumpiano, a congressional liaison for the CFPB, the night before the hearing to make “an [sic] late change to 1:00.” At 11:00pm, Cumpiano responds to figure out a better time.
– Tuesday May 24 morning: After Haller and Cumpiano go back and forth with e-mails about which time would be best, a phone conversation occurs between Haller and Adewale Adeyemo, chief of staff to the CFBP implementation team, and a schedule is set. At 10:11am, Cumpiano e-mails Haller: “Hi Peter. I understand from Wally -copied here- that you both spoke and she’ll [Elizabeth Warren] testify from 1:15pm to 2:15pm. Thanks, Flavio.”
– Tuesday May 24 afternoon around 2:15pm: McHenry, with Haller sitting behind him, accuses Warren of trying to evading the committee by trying to leave at the agreed-upon time. When Warren noted that McHenry’s aides had agreed upon the schedule, McHenry elicited audible gasps in the room by declaring Warren a liar: “You’re making this up, Ms. Warren. This is not the case.”
– Tuesday May 24 2:32pm: As Warren leaves the hearing room, Haller fires off an e-mail to Cumpiano demanding that he “please confirm” that he did not “confirm the end time.” Later that afternoon, Cumpiano responds by reiterating that Haller had confirmed the 2:15pm end time, and had even told Adeyemo that he would inform McHenry of the schedule during the call.
McHenry seemed to have a mission that day. As Crooks and Liars blogger Karoli pointed out, before the hearing started, McHenry appeared on CNBC and accused Warren of lying about the nature of her advice to the consumer protection agency. The scheduling controversy at the hearing appears to be little more than a cover for McHenry to smear Warren as untrustworthy.
By the way, the guy sitting behind McHenry in the video, the one who “shakes his head at Warren when she said ‘we had an agreement for the time this hearing’ (time stamp 00:55),” that’s Haller, who engineered this entire exchange meant just to smear Warren by manipulating the schedule.
Under Issa, it’s apparently not the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform anymore. It’s the Goldman Sachs Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.