Lame-duck Senate Republicans Are Expected to Proceed with a Vote to Confirm Kraninger as CFPB Director Despite Her Disastrous Record on Issues like Data Security
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Later this week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his colleagues in the lame-duck Republican Senate are expected to vote on the nomination of Kathy Kraninger to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) despite, among other things, her disastrous record on data security.
While she was a political appointee at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under President George W. Bush, Kraninger defended the DHS terrorist watchlist even after the agency received over 16,000 complaints about the database being riddled with errors. At a high-profile congressional hearing in 2007, Kraninger was unable to confirm if Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) would ever get his name fully removed from the database. The civil rights icon had been incorrectly stopped at the airport 35-40 times and first raised concerns about the issue in 2004.
Additionally, Kraninger was a chief advocate of collecting biometric data from foreign nationals entering the United States despite warnings from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that the practice did not demonstrate enough security controls to prevent sensitive information from getting into the wrong hands.
“Kathy Kraninger has no record of consumer protection or holding big banks, predatory lenders, and other financial scammers accountable. The record she does have is frightening. Kraninger defended the terrorist watch list even though it was riddled with errors. Her efforts to address these issues were so disastrous that she couldn’t even assure people like Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights icon who was incorrectly stopped at the airport dozens of times, that the errors would ever be resolved. It was Kraninger’s job to fix these issues and she failed miserably,”said Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress.
He continued, “Data security is vital to the consumer protection work of the CFPB. Putting aside the fact that Kraninger’s fingerprints are all over the Trump administration’s family separation immigration policy and its dreadful response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, her record on data security alone should be enough to give Senators pause. Rather than reward her with a promotion she does not deserve and is not qualified for, Senators should do the right thing and reject her nomination.”
Kraninger’s Disastrous Data Security Record:
- Kathy Kraninger defended the terrorist watchlist even after DHS received 16,000 complaints about incorrect information on the list. In 2007, Kathy Kraninger defended the terrorist watchlist at a Congressional hearing, despite acknowledging that the list had “errors,” that sometimes “waste [Department of Homeland Security] resources.” At the time, the Department of Homeland Security had only resolved half of the 16,000 complaints it received from individuals who believed they were mistakenly placed on the list. [“House Panel Weighs Terrorist Watch-List Problems [Audio],”NPR News, 11/08/07]
- During a 2007 Congressional hearing, Kathy Kraninger was unable to confirm if Rep. John Lewis could ever get his name fully removed from the terrorist watch list databases. Despite Congressman Lewis raising concerns as early as 2004, Kraninger was unable to confirm if anything could be done for him saying, “we cannot promise that his issue is indeed […] fixed” and instead blamed airlines for how they use the list. As of 2004, Lewis had already been stopped 35-40 times at airport security.[Testimony of Kathleen Kraninger, “The Progress and Pitfalls of the Terrorist Watchlist,” Hearing of the House Committee on Homeland Security, 11/08/07; Ted Barrett, “Kennedy has company on airline watch list,”com, 08/20/04]
- Kathy Kraninger advocated for biometric data collection practices for foreign nationals that the GAO criticized for “significant information security control weaknesses.” While at DHS, Kathy Kraninger advocated for the use of biometric data from foreign nationals entering the United States. She said that US-VISIT biometrics collection “provides a significant layer of security.” However, the Department of Homeland Security’s widespread adoption of biometric data has been deeply controversial. It has been called “the most elaborate system of identification in the United States” by privacy advocates and criticized for “significant information security control weaknesses” by the Government Accountability Office. [Testimony of Kathleen Kraninger, “The Progress and Pitfalls of the Terrorist Watchlist,” Hearing of the House Committee on Homeland Security, 11/08/07; “United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-Visit),” Electronic Privacy Information Center, accessed 06/28/18; Stephanie Condon, “DHS wants green card holders’ fingerprints,” CNET, 12/18/08; “Homeland Security Needs to Immediately Address Significant Weaknesses in Systems Supporting the US-VISIT Program,” United States Government Accountability Office, July 2007 and Paul Willis, “Fully biometric airports becoming a reality,”CNN, 08/11/09]
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