Following Hensarling’s Letter Asking Federal Agencies to Deny Public Records Requests, Allied Progress Launches Hyper-Targeted Ad Campaign Encouraging Whistleblowers to Come Forward
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the House prepares to debate and vote on Rep. Jeb Hensarling’s Financial CHOICE Act later this week, Allied Progress is launching a hyper-targeted digital ad campaign encouraging federal employees from Trump administration departments and agencies to come forward and share any information they may have relating to documents and/or correspondence from Hensarling and the powerful House Financial Services Committee that he chairs. The Texas Republican has been roundly criticized in recent weeks for instructing a dozen of these departments and agencies to withhold such communications when responding to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for public records.
Rep. Hensarling made this unusual request while shepherding his Financial CHOICE Act through his Committee and Congress. The legislation would allow big banks to gamble with taxpayer money, stop the government from monitoring financial institutions for signs of another crisis, and let credit card companies, banks, payday lenders, debt collectors, and other predatory financial industries trample the rights of consumers. Raising serious red flags, many of the bill’s controversial provisions impact the exact same agencies that Hensarling instructed to withhold his communications when responding to FOIA requests.
“The timing of Rep. Jeb Hensarling’s request that federal agencies sandbag transparency efforts raises serious questions. His unusual and paranoid dismissal of important public records laws has many Americans rightfully wondering what the hell he must be hiding,” said Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress.
He continued, “We are encouraging employees from the dozen federal departments and agencies targeted by Rep. Hensarling’s brazen assault on government transparency to come forward as whistleblowers and share any information or communications they may have from him or his powerful House Financial Services Committee.”
The targeted digital ads send would-be whistleblowers to WhatsJebHiding.org, a website that will serve as a secure hub for those stepping forward to share information. It includes several options for providing tips to Allied Progress – from using secure encryption applications like Signal, WhatsApp, and Peerio (at 202-681-6033), to sending documents directly through the U.S. Postal Service (at P.O. Box 34068, Washington, D.C. 20043-4068).
The effort will use a variety of digital ad targeting techniques to reach those working at the targets of Rep. Hensarling’s directive: Department of the Treasury, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Export-Import Bank, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Federal Reserve. In additional to launching this hyper-targeted digital ad campaign, Allied Progress is also running a full-page ad in Politico today encouraging whistleblowers to come forward.
The House Financial Services Committee approved Rep. Hensarling’s Financial CHOICE Act by a party-line vote on May 4. The bill is expected to receive a full floor vote in the House on Friday, June 9. His ranking counterpart on the Committee, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), called his letters to agencies “the height of hypocrisy” and said that her communications with the agencies will still be subject to open records laws.
To speak with Karl Frisch about the whistleblower initiative, please contact Mike Czin at 202-286-7654 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Allied Progress is a nationwide, progressive advocacy organization that uses hard-hitting research and creative campaigns to hold Wall Street and powerful special interests accountable. Since launching in 2015, the organization has led high-profile campaigns on several issues including reforming the payday lending industry and exposing the those working to cripple the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.