Democrats Defend FDIC Chair Amid Sexual Harassment Scandal

Key Democrats who championed the #MeToo movement are now defending Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) chair Martin Gruenberg, despite a scathing report revealing rampant sexual harassment and misconduct at the agency under his leadership. Gruenberg announced his resignation last week following the release of the 174-page report.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who previously called for the immediate resignation of her former colleague, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), due to a groping photo, urged Gruenberg not to resign, arguing his departure “would give Republicans a veto over bank policy.” Warren even dispatched former aides to coach Gruenberg ahead of a House hearing.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, also came to Gruenberg’s defense, criticizing the report for ignoring the conduct of previous Republican chairs and highlighting Gruenberg’s “favorable ratings” from FDIC employees. This stance contrasts with Waters’ rhetoric during the height of the #MeToo movement when she called for the imprisonment of a Fox News host accused of sexual harassment.

The Wall Street Journal’s investigation revealed a toxic and sexualized workplace at the FDIC, with male supervisors inviting employees to strip clubs, having sex with subordinates, and sending lewd photos to female employees. Despite these findings, progressive activists expressed concerns about the political risk of Gruenberg’s departure, which could lead to a deadlock on the agency’s board of directors.