WASHINGTON — The U.S. Government Accountability Office has agreed to a congressional request to investigate the massive data collection efforts at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Republicans have repeatedly called for an examination of how the CFPB has gone about its data gathering. Media outlets have reported that the agency spent more than $20 million on hiring outside firms to gather financially-related data on 10 million Americans.

Katherine Siggerud, managing director for congressional relations at the GAO, said in a July 12 letter that the watchdog agency planned to look into the matter "shortly." (The letter was released Thursday.)

The GAO's decision was in response to a July 2 request for an investigation by Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee.

Despite Crapo's accusation that the CFPB's data collection efforts are "evasive," the CFPB contends the information is secure and lacks personalized information, and that the firms it hired to help in the data gathering are used by other federal regulators.

"You want us to do careful, cost-benefit analysis. We can't do that without good data," said CFPB Director Richard Cordray during a Senate Banking Committee hearing in April.

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