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Amid claims he backs banks, Toomey grills Wells Fargo CEO

"Doesn't it defy common sense to think that there wasn't some orchestration of this?" Toomey asked the bank's CEO at the Senate banking committee hearing.

"Nobody is buying Pat Toomey's election year faux outrage," McGinty said in a news release.

Her campaign on Tuesday said that if Toomey had had his way, Wells Fargo might still be scamming customers.

A Toomey campaign spokesman said the senator "wants strong tools to vigorously fight fraud" and pointed the Republican's opposition to bank bailouts, saying he "has led the fight to ensure Wall Street is accountable for their own actions."

Toomey, however, has also made clear that he believes the CFPB has too much power and independence. Earlier this month he downplayed its importance in rooting out the wrongdoing at Wells Fargo.

Toomey and other Republicans argue that the CFPB's budget should be set by Congress and that a bipartisan board should oversee its work, rather than a presidential appointee. He says the current structure gives the agency unilateral power to go after banks. Democrats say his plans would give lawmakers sympathetic to banks the chance to weaken the agency by threatening to withhold its funding.

"Today's hearing reminds us, why the CFPB was formed. We need a cop out on the beat," Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) said at the hearing.

The agency was the brainchild of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), and created after the 2008 financial crisis in order to target unfair banking practices. Warren plans to join McGinty on a media call to press the issue Wednesday.

Sen. Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) used the same hearing to sharply question the pressure Wells Fargo put on lower-paid workers to create such accounts, while disdainfully citing the CEO's $19.3 million pay. "Now that's good money," Menendez said. "Now that's good money."

Menendez accused Wells Fargo of fostering a pressurized culture that led bankers to open false accounts in order to keep up with their bosses' demands.

"This isn't the work of 5,300 bad apples. This is the work and result of sowing seeds that rotted the entire orchard," Menendez said.

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