The Securities and Exchange Commission is in talks to largely hand off its leasing activities after being accused of bungling a real estate deal priced at more than half a billion dollars.
SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro said she is negotiating with the General Services Administration, which manages real estate for the federal government, to take over the responsibilities.
The handoff would come after an SEC inspector general report found in May that the SEC faces a $94 million claim after it made numerous mistakes in securing a 10-year, $556.8 million leasing deal for additional space in Washington.
The SEC anticipated it would need room for additional employees to implement the Dodd-Frank financial oversight law, but congressional budget wrangling forced it to try to back out of the lease.
Schapiro said in testimony prepared for a congressional hearing on Wednesday that she is ultimately responsible for the actions of the agency and that she is urgently working to lessen the financial fallout from the leasing deal.
Part of the longer-term solution is to outsource leasing, Schapiro said.
Leasing is not part of the Commission's core mission and we cannot allow it to impede that mission, Schapiro said.
The SEC's leasing woes have been of great interest to lawmakers, and has provided ammunition to some Republicans seeking to deny extra money for the SEC to carry out Dodd-Frank.
(Reporting by Emily Stephenson; writing by Karey Wutkowski; editing by Tim Dobbyn)