Mulvaney puts brakes on Equifax probe: Reuters

Mulvaney puts brakes on Equifax probe: Reuters
© Getty

White House budget director and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) acting Director Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyFauci says positive White House task force reports don't always match what he hears on the ground Bottom line White House, Senate GOP clash over testing funds MORE has dialed back the agency’s investigation into a massive data breach at Equifax, Reuters reported Sunday.

Mulvaney has not sought subpoenas or sworn testimony as part of the investigation, Reuters reported, citing three unnamed sources. The bureau has also put on hold plans to test how Equifax protects data.

ADVERTISEMENT

Former CFPB Director Richard CordrayRichard Adams CordrayConsumer bureau revokes payday lending restrictions Supreme Court ruling could unleash new legal challenges to consumer bureau Supreme Court rules consumer bureau director can be fired at will MORE authorized a probe in September into how hackers were able to steal personal data from Equifax in a data breach that affected nearly 150 million Americans.

It was later discovered the company was charging individuals to find out if they’d been affected by a breach.

A CFPB spokesperson in a statement noted that the agency has the power to investigate Equifax.

“The Bureau has statutory authority over the collection and maintenance of consumer report information. Additionally, the Bureau is authorized to take supervisory and enforcement action against certain institutions engaged in unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices, or that otherwise violate federal consumer financial laws. This includes acting in response to the failure of institutions to engage in reasonable data security practices in connection with the collection and maintenance of consumer report information," the spokesperson said.

"As noted previously, the Bureau is looking into Equifax’s data breach and response. Reports to the contrary are incorrect. The Bureau cannot comment further at this time.”

The credit reporting company was the subject of more complaints to the CFPB in 2017 than any other financial services company in all but one state and it faces more than 240 class-action lawsuits.

The Federal Trade Commission is investigating the breach and could fine the company.

Mulvaney’s installation as head of the CFPB was surrounded by controversy. Trump appointed him in November to serve as the bureau’s temporary director after Cordray stepped down to run for governor in Ohio.

However, Cordray had already appointed Leandra English to take over for him, setting up a battle between the agency and the White House over who had the power to name a replacement.

While serving as a congressman, Mulvaney said the CFPB shouldn’t exist. When he took over as the new head of the agency, he instituted a 30-day regulatory and hiring freeze, but said he would keep its litigation commitments.

Updated on Feb. 6.