Republicans in Congress who are fighting to restrict the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s power have found a new target to attack: the $95 million price tag for renovating a vacant government building that would become the agency’s new headquarters.

The renovation cost is the latest in a series of complaints by Republicans who say the CFPB was given too much power under the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law that created it. The GOP has pushed several bills to change the bureau’s structure and powers, including subjecting its funding to congressional approval and replacing the director with a bipartisan commission.

Alan S. Kaplinsky, Practice Leader of Ballard Spahr’s Consumer Financial Services Group, supports the proposed changes related to the bureau’s structure and authority, but said he thought the GOP was “barking up the wrong tree” in focusing on the headquarters renovation.

“I have seen some constraint” on CFPB spending, he said, noting that the agency’s $541 million budget for 2013 fell below a cap of about $600 million. “The focus needs to be on what the CFPB is doing. … Are they helping consumers? And if they’re helping consumers, what are the costs to industry?”

Related Practice

Consumer Financial Services