Feb 9, 2018

32 Democratic senators question CFPB's motive in halting Equifax probe

Alex Wong / Getty

Thirty-two Democratic senators cosigned a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Board leadership questioning whether its investigation into the Equifax breach was halted for political reasons.

Why it matters: Acting Director Mick Mulvaney, who opposes the existence of the agency, has made it clear he intends to fulfill CFPB's "statutory requirement" to implement and enforce consumer protection laws as narrowly as possible. And reports that the agency stopped its Equifax probe seems like a perfect test case of what will and will not be investigated by the office under Mulvaney.

Note: The senators' letter was addressed — in a trolling fashion — to "Acting Director" Leandra English and to "Director [of] Office of Management and Budget" Mick Mulvaney, a reference to last year's procedural power struggle that left Mulvaney in charge.

Does it matter if the FTC takes the lead? The senators appear unimpressed by the possibility the Federal Trade Commission may be leading the Equifax probe on its own: "[T]he CFPB still has a duty to investigate the harm to consumers and whether other federal consumer financial laws have been violated," they wrote.

Is the CFPB abandoning oversight of credit rating bureaus entirely? The letter continues: "We are also concerned that the CFPB appears to be scaling back its supervision of large consumer reporting agencies. The agency has reportedly scrapped plans to conduct on-site exams of Equifax and other consumer reporting agencies and turned down offers from the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to help with such on-site exams."

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