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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin has asked Inspector General Mark Bialek to investigate whether the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has put on ice a probe into the Equifax data breach that threatened the sensitive, private information of more than 145 million Americans.
On Monday, Reuters reported that “Mick Mulvaney, head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has pulled back from a full-scale probe of how Equifax Inc. failed to protect the personal data of millions of consumers.”
In her letter to the Inspector General, Senator Baldwin wrote, “The mission of the CFPB is to protect consumers in the financial marketplace. As such, investigating the largest breach of consumer financial data in American history is not optional, but obligatory. In fact, the CFPB initiated an investigation into Equifax under its previous leadership as part of a crucial first step to ensuring that consumer financial data is protected going forward. Media reports note that the CFPB has not issued a single subpoena for testimony from Equifax—and has even discouraged other regulators from examining the company. Given that the CFPB has the authority, resources, and expertise to direct the investigation, news of its suspension raises serious questions about the agency under the new leadership of Acting Director Mulvaney. Refusing to investigate Equifax appears to be a clear violation of the statutes that created the CFPB in Dodd-Frank. As the Inspector General, you are required to investigate violations of law, regulation, or policy at the CFPB.”
Senator Baldwin has been calling for stronger accountability for Equifax. At Senator Baldwin’s insistence, Equifax executives were called before the Senate Commerce Committee last November, but failed to give direct answers to many questions posed by members of the committee. Following the hearing, Senator Baldwin sent a letter to the CEO of Equifax calling on him to provide direct notice to each and every American consumer impacted by the data breach.
The full letter to the Inspector General is available here.
An online version of this release is available here.