Senators demand answers from CFPB on Equifax probe
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 Schatz (D-Hawaii), sent a letter to the CFPB, dated Feb. 7, which cites a Reuters report that Acting Director Mick Mulvaney 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.”
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 King (I-Maine) and Bernie Sanders (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.