Back in September, Equifax, the behemoth credit rating agency had a behemoth “oops.” Equifax revealed that a data breach left 145 million Americans’ vital data exposed for any nefarious use. The company should have immediately reported the failure so that possible victims could quickly take measures to ensure no harm came to them. Instead, the company waited weeks, allowing three executives to sell nearly $2 million worth of the company’s shares before releasing the news and taking the stock price hit.
Under its previous director Richard Cordray, a holdover from the Obama-era, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau immediately initiated an extensive investigation into Equifax’s “mistake.” Fines and even possible criminal liability were on the table depending upon the investigation’s findings.
But now, under Trump’s new interim director Mike Mulvaney, the CFPB is …scaling back? that intense investigation. According to Reuters, Mulvaney has not ordered subpoenas against Equifax or sought sworn testimony from executives, which it would be expected to do in a full-scale probe. It has put a pause on plans for tests of Equifax’s data protection practices and turned down offers from other federal regulators for help in on-site credit bureau exams.
This is breathtaking. The refusal to allow other regulators to assist in the investigation speaks of an effort to “control” the damage, the damage to Equifax, that is.
In the age of digitized money, entire life savings can come crashing down during one down moment in cyberprotection. Ironic that Equifax is one of the companies that would downgrade a consumer should that person have failed to protect herself from cyber-mischief and sent out a month’s worth of bills on a zeroed out account.
But that person doesn’t have Trump covering his or her back. And to this day, the average Trump supporter believes that Trump cares about the “little guy,” the “working man,” the same person whose critical financial information went exposed under Equifax’s errors.
When Trump speaks of draining swamps, he’s speaking of cutting regulators that keep American business in check. For reasons that I shall never understand, the average Republican voter believes the United States government is their enemy, but big business, their best budy.
The average American has far more to fear from American Big Business Corp. than he or she ever had from the U.S. government. Now that the swamp of regulators continues to be drained, look for the predators in the business community to expand their ecosystem.