July 2, 2014

Elizabeth Warren’s Brainchild Builds HQ Costlier Than Trump Tower

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For the average American family it’s a time of austerity and stretching every dollar. For the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in D.C., it’s time for a $216 million renovation to its headquarters coming in at a greater cost per square foot than the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Before Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) was elected, she first proposed the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in 2007 and Obama appointed her as a Special Advisor to set up the bureau. Warren was later passed over to lead the organization after Republican opposition.

The Washington Examiner reported today on a recent “scathing” Inspector General’s report that detailed the opulent headquarters of the CFPB. The CFPB is charged with consumer protection in the financial sector (although not taxpayer protection it seems). The IG report determined that there was no “sound basis” to support the renovation and that the IG was “unable to locate any documentation” for the renovation.

In 2010 the original cost of the building was estimated to be $55 million and has now skyrocketed to $215.8 million. The Washington Examiner writes:

The new cost estimates put it at $590 per square foot. Congressional critics have previously complained in hearings that the new CFPB building would a be “palace,” more opulent than Trump World Tower (whose construction costs were $334 per square foot), Las Vegas’ Bellagio Hotel and Casino ($330 per square foot) and Dubai’s Burj Khalifa ($450 per square foot).

When asked if she would accept a smaller consumer protection agency, Senator Warren wrote in her book that she would rather have “no agency at all and plenty of blood and teeth left on the floor.” Warren has gotten her wish as few would dispute the price tag of her idea as small.  For an organization  Elizabeth Warren created to protect consumers in the financial market, perhaps a lesson in finance and budgeting is in order.