Target adds lobbyists for hacking fallout

Target has hired a pair of lobbyists to push lawmakers on data breach issues, weeks after a hack exposed the personal and financial data of as many as 110 million of the store’s shoppers. 

According to a disclosure statement, two lobbyists from the law firm Venable registered to represent the Minneapolis-based retailer on “issues related to data breach” on Jan. 17, just a week after the store released updated numbers showing the full extent of the hack. 

Both lobbyists are former staffers on Capitol Hill.

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William Nordwind, a partner at Venable, used to work for Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. He also spent time as a counsel on the panel’s telecommunications subcommittee and as a staffer for former Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio).

Robert Smith, a senior legislative advisor with the law firm, spent time in the offices of former Reps. Wes Watkins (R-Okla.) and Joel Hefley (R-Colo.).

Neither the lobbyists nor representatives from Target immediately responded to a request for comment.

Late last year, Target announced that as many as 40 million people might have had information about their credit or debit cards stolen by hackers over the holiday shopping season. On Jan. 10, it said that as many 70 million may have had personal information like their name, address and phone number nabbed from the retailer’s database.

Along with Neiman Marcus’s announcement that it, too, had been hacked, and possible breaches at other top stores, Target’s disclosure raised alarms around the country and prompted a slew of activity on Capitol Hill.

This week, Attorney General Eric Holder called on lawmakers to pass a law setting a national standard requiring companies to notify the public in the event of a hack. The idea has gained widespread support from consumer advocates and retailers, which have complained about the patchwork of dozens of state laws currently in existence. 

 — Megan Wilson contributed