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Ernst Works to Give FDIC Victims Day in Court

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) joined her colleagues in introducing legislation to empower current and former Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) employees who experienced discrimination or sexual harassment to have their day in court.

The FDIC Discrimination Relief Act would allow FDIC employees between Jan. 1, 2015 and Dec. 31, 2023 to sue the agency. This would allow victims to seek appropriate relief for harm resulting from discrimination. It allows, but does not require, individuals to pursue administrative remedies before bringing a civil action.

“The rampant culture of harassment and abuse at Martin Gruenberg’s FDIC frat house is egregious,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “Accountability is coming for every member of FDIC leadership who cultivated this cultural rot. As a survivor of sexual assault, I’m proud to stand up for the victims of this abuse of power. The FDIC Discrimination Relief Act will create an avenue to ensure justice is served and the integrity of the institution is restored.”

Public reporting from the FDIC says that the agency received 92 official harassment complaints between 2015 and 2023 but no offender was removed, demoted, or received any disciplinary action more serious than a suspension. Only two of these cases resulted in suspensions. A review of the FDIC established a hotline to report misconduct within the agency. That hotline received 541 additional reports of misconduct, likely because employees feared retaliation if they reported harassment to the agency itself.


Following reports of sexual harassment and discrimination at the FDIC, Ernst was one of the first senators to call for FDIC Chair Martin Gruenberg’s resignation. In November 2023, she followed up by conducting critical oversight of this behavior at the FDIC and demanding any evidence of criminal wrongdoing by agency employees be turned over to the Department of Justice and local law enforcement for potential prosecution.

After a third-party investigation into the FDIC’s workplace culture, Ernst called for real consequences and the Department of Justice to investigate the agency from top to bottom. Even after this report, the Biden administration has refused to immediately remove FDIC Chair Gruenberg.

In the face of reports of this criminal misconduct at federal agencies, Ernst introduced the No Taxpayer-Funded Pensions for Sex Criminals Act, bipartisan, bicameral legislation to prohibit sex criminals from collecting taxpayer-funded pensions.