Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) has asked the Federal Trade Commission if it needs more congressinal authority to hold retailers accountable for failures to protect consumer information.

He asked the FTC if it needed help in a letter to Chairwoman Edith Ramirez that also requested an update on the probe of Target.


“Our country’s consumers depend upon safe and secure transactions, and especially at this crucial time of year, our country’s retailers must commit to fulfilling that expectation,” Menendez wrote. “Unfortunately, these data breaches are becoming increasingly common.”

Target admitted to a data breach earlier this month that affected nearly 40 million costumers’ debit and credit card information. Menendez said questions still needed to be answered as to how the security slip happened and whether Target could have done more to protect the information.

“The 40-million compromised accounts represent one of the largest corporate security breaches in history, potentially exposing millions of people who shopped this holiday season to fraudulent charges, identity theft, and other inexcusable hardships,” his letter stated. “Our nation’s regulators must be vigilant to ensure a safe and secure environment to protect all involved.”

Rep. Albio Sires (D-N.J.) said he’d join Menendez on working toward a legislative fix to prevent such security breaches in the future.

“I applaud Senator Menendez in his efforts to guard the American consumer from retailer’s failures when it comes to security breaches,” Sires said. “I intend to support similar legislation with my colleagues in the House of Representatives in ensuring security breaches such as this one does not happen again and to make sure all transactions are protected and secure.” 

Lawmakers will be able to introduce legislation when they return from the holiday recess on Jan. 6.