Hundreds of employees of the new Consumer Financial Protection Board (CFPB) are paid more than Supreme Court justices, top White House officials, members of Congress, and all 50 state governors.
The board, created by Congress in 2011 as a financial-services regulatory entity under the Federal Reserve, has 1,204 employees, according an examination of salaries by The Washington Examiner
For instance, 56 employees are paid more than the $199,700 Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke receives, the Examiner found.
Fed governors receive $179,700, which is exceeded by 111 CFPB workers.
The board is exempt from regular civil-service pay scales, the Examiner reports.
But a CFPB spokesman said the board must follow Federal Reserve pay scales.
"Dodd-Frank legislation requires CFPB to design pay and benefit programs that are comparable to the Federal Reserve Board and in line with other federal financial regulators," the spokesman, who demanded anonymity, told the Examiner.
A Federal Reserve spokesman, however, said the Fed had no authority to determine what CFPB paid its employees.
According to the Examiner, the average annual salary paid by the board is $118,000, while the median is $113,000.
Six-figure salaries are paid to 741 employees, or 61 percent of the board’s workforce, with one in four earning $150,000 or more.
By contrast, the individual median income in the U.S. is $29,965, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and is $69,821 for households.
The highest-paid CFPB employee is Gail Hillebrand, who receives $251,288, the Examiner reports. She is assistant director for consumer education and engagement.
Hillebrand had been a marketing manager with Consumers Union.
Richard Cordray, CFPB's director who was confirmed to the post this week, is paid $179,700. He apparently chose the compensation for himself, the Examiner reports.
The salaries have come under fire by GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, saying they "raise concern about the way this department was created."
Rep. Sean Duffy, a Wisconsin Republican, has introduced legislation to bring CFPB salaries into line with those of career civil service employees.
Duffy told the Examiner that the high salaries were "extravagant" and "outrageous."
"What the salaries of the CFPB show is that this is an agency that's out of touch," said Duffy, a member of the House Financial Services Committee's oversight panel.
Nine of Duffy's Republican House colleagues co-sponsored his legislation, the CFPB Pay Fairness Act of 2013. No Democrats are co-sponsors, the Examiner reports.
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