Senators press for answers on Equifax executives who sold stock after breach

Senators press for answers on Equifax executives who sold stock after breach
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

The Senate Finance Committee wants answers from Equifax on when three of its executives, who sold almost $2 million in stock, learned of a massive cybersecurity breach the company experienced in July.

The sale has raised eyebrows among some observers who are concerned about potential insider trading violations.

Committee leaders Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchTrump struggles to get new IRS team in place Romney forced into GOP primary for Utah Senate nomination Romney won't commit yet to supporting Trump in 2020 MORE (R-Utah) and Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenTrump struggles to get new IRS team in place CIA declassifies memo on nominee's handling of interrogation tapes Dem senators demand Trump explain ties to Koch brothers MORE (D-Ore.) pressed Equifax CEO Richard Smith for details on the scope of the breach in which the data of 143 million Americans was compromised, who is affected by it and actions Equifax is taking to mitigate its impacts.

Hatch and Wyden then pressed for specifics on when three executives were notified of the cyberattack.

Equifax Chief Financial Officer John Gamble and president of U.S. information solutions Joseph Loughran collectively sold shares and exercised stock options totaling approximately $1.5 million on Aug. 1. Rodolfo Ploder, president of workforce solutions, sold approximately $250,000 worth of stock on Aug. 2. Details of the hack, which occurred on July 29, were not yet made public at that time.

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The sales were not a part of the trio’s prescheduled trading plans that insiders often use when buying and selling equity.

Equifax has said that Gamble, Loughran and Ploder were not notified of the breach when they opted to sell shares and exercise options.

The timing has raised suspicion among some skeptics. When asked by The Hill on Friday if they would investigate the matter for potential insider trading, the Securities and Exchange Commission declined to comment.

Hatch and Wyden join Senate Commerce Committee leaders, Sens. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneHouse, Senate GOP compete for cash Overnight Tech: Alleged robocall kingpin testifies before Congress | What lawmakers learned | Push for new robocall rules | Facebook changes privacy settings ahead of new data law | Time Warner CEO defends AT&T merger at trial Senators grill alleged robocall kingpin MORE (R-S.D.) and Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonOvernight Energy: Senate confirms Bridenstine as NASA chief | Watchdog probes Pruitt’s use of security detail | Emails shine light on EPA science policy changes Scott ramps up spending to million in Florida Senate race Overnight Energy: Trump NASA pick advances after drama | White House office to investigate Pruitt's soundproof booth | 170 lawmakers call for Pruitt to resign MORE (D-Fla.) along with Sen. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzOvernight Tech: AT&T chief takes the stand to defend merger | Facebook keeps most users out of EU data law's reach | HUD reopens probe into Facebook housing ads | Venture capital firms go to bat for cryptocurrencies Facebook investigated over alleged housing discrimination Senate confirms Trump’s pick to lead NASA MORE (D-Hawaii) who penned letters to Equifax demanding more answers on the hack. Both the House Energy and Commerce and Financial Services committees have also announced hearings to examine the breach further.