Senators demand answers from CFPB on Equifax probe

Senators demand answers from CFPB on Equifax probe
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More than 30 senators are asking the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for details about their investigation into last year’s massive Equifax data breach following reports the agency has been dragging its feet on the probe.

The group, led by Sen. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzCDC causes new storm by pulling coronavirus guidance Overnight Health Care: CDC pulls revised guidance on coronavirus | Government watchdog finds supply shortages are harming US response | As virus pummels US, Europe sees its own spike Video of Lindsey Graham arguing against nominating a Supreme Court justice in an election year goes viral MORE (D-Hawaii), sent a letter to the CFPB, dated Feb. 7, which cites a Reuters report that Acting Director Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyOn The Money: House panel pulls Powell into partisan battles | New York considers hiking taxes on the rich | Treasury: Trump's payroll tax deferral won't hurt Social Security Blockchain trade group names Mick Mulvaney to board Mick Mulvaney to start hedge fund MORE has not approved a number of preliminary steps in the investigation.

“The CFPB has a statutory mandate to participate in this process by conducting an investigation,” the senators wrote. “If that investigation exposes wrongdoing or consumer harm, the CFPB has the authority, and indeed a duty, to bring appropriate enforcement actions.”

The CFPB said it received the letter but declined to comment on it. A spokesperson pointed to a statement put out earlier this week by Mulvaney's senior advisor John Czwartacki.

“Acting Director Mulvaney takes data security issues very seriously," Czwartacki said. "Under his direction, the CFPB is working with our partners across government on Equifax’s data breach and response. We are committed to enforcing the law. As policy, we do not confirm or deny enforcement or supervisory matters."

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The letter includes a list of questions on whether the investigation has been halted and what steps the agency has taken. It was signed by 30 Democrats, as well as Sens. Angus KingAngus KingGovernment watchdog recommends creation of White House cyber director position Democrats step up hardball tactics as Supreme Court fight heats up Shakespeare Theatre Company goes virtual for 'Will on the Hill...or Won't They?' MORE (I-Maine) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersOutrage erupts over Breonna Taylor grand jury ruling Dimon: Wealth tax 'almost impossible to do' Grand jury charges no officers in Breonna Taylor death MORE (I-Vt.)

The Reuters report has prompted backlash from Democrats who have called for a crackdown on Equifax and the credit reporting industry following the breach that exposed sensitive information of more than 145 million people.

The Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department are also conducting investigations into the breach.

“By letting criminals gain access to its databases, Equifax has put nearly half the U.S. population at risk for identity theft and fraud, which can ruin the financial lives of its victims and increase risk in our financial system,” the letter reads.

This story was updated at 2:20 p.m.