Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDemocrats narrow scope of IRS proposal amid GOP attacks Overnight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — FDA moves to sell hearing aids over-the-counter FDA proposes rule to offer over-the-counter hearing aids MORE (D-Mass.) wants to know why a page devoted to helping employees at Wells Fargo has been pulled from the Labor Department’s website in the new Trump administration.
After regulators charged the bank with creating potentially millions of fake accounts without account holders’ consent, the department set up a webpage devoted specifically to current and former bank employees. The goal of the page was to make those workers aware of worker protection laws after allegations that whistleblowers and other workers had been punished by the bank for airing concerns about the practice.
In a letter sent Friday to the agency’s acting secretary, Warren said she noticed the webpage was no longer functional and questioned whether the Trump administration had any intention to follow through on a “top to bottom” review of the bank promised under President Obama.
The removal of that website, Warren warned, was not a promising start.
“Taking down this website enables Wells Fargo to escape full responsibility for its fraudulent actions and the Department to shirk its outstanding obligations to American workers,” she wrote.
The bank faced bipartisan recriminations in the fall of 2016. CEO John Stumpf was grilled by members in both parties, who argued that the bank’s activities amounted to criminal fraud. Stumpf retired shortly after those hearings.
Warren and other Senate Democrats had pushed for a Labor Department probe in to the bank’s treatment of its employees. And she argued Friday that a webpage to help Wells Fargo employees is still critical, citing reports that employees were punished for trying to report the improper activity or asked to destroy evidence before bank inspectors arrived.
Warren asked in the letter if the Trump administration planned to continue the review of the bank’s treatment of employees or had any plans to reinstate the website.
The letter was sent to the department’s acting secretary, Edward Hugler. Trump’s pick to lead the department, fast food executive Andrew Puzder, has yet to be confirmed. Puzder has seen his confirmation hearing delayed three times already as Democrats argue they lack key ethics paperwork from the nominee.