Memo to Media: Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Equifax)

To: Interested Parties

From: Karl Frisch, Allied Progress

Date: Thursday, October 5, 2017

Re: Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Equifax)


As you know, today the House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing on the Equifax data breach. We fully expect Chairman Jeb Hensarling to voice his outrage and shock over Equifax’s actions that led to the massive breach. There are more than a few reasons to take his statements with a grain of salt:

Over the course of his Congressional career, Hensarling has personally received $16,500 in campaign contributions from Equifax’s PAC and has repeatedly done their bidding.

According to the Senate Lobbyist Disclosure Database, Equifax has spent more than $6.9 million on lobbying The Hill since 2008 when the Great Recession started.

And Equifax has gotten their money’s worth from Members of Congress like Hensarling.

Here are just few examples of how Hensarling has bent over backwards to do defend companies like Equifax and done what’s in their interest:

Jeb Hensarling said, in a 2012 House Financial Services committee hearing, that it is “so important” to “ensure that credit scorers are serving our constituents.” Credit reporting companies “helped democratize consumer credit; made it more egalitarian” and Congress “ought to approach” the industry “with a fair amount of care and trepidation.”

“‘We know that we continue to be in a very troubled economic environment. And many of our constituents continue to suffer,” Jeb Hensarling said in a House Financial Services committee hearing in September 2012. “‘And that’s why it’s so important that we ensure that credit scorers are serving our constituents. I believe they’re an incredibly important tool. They’ve helped democratize consumer credit; made it more egalitarian. It’s an empowering thing for consumers. And so I think we ought to approach with a fair amount of care and trepidation as we come into this area.'” [“REP. SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO HOLDS A HEARING ON EXAMINING THE USES OF CONSUMER CREDIT DATA,” CQ Transcriptions, 09/13/12]

Jeb Hensarling voted against a bill that would place “credit reporting agencies” under the oversight of the Consumer Financial Protection Authority.

Jeb Hensarling voted against a bill that “would allow the [Consumer Financial Protection Authority] to collect data on loans to minority- and woman-owned businesses. […] As amended, credit reporting agencies would be subject to CFPA authority, by transferring authority under the bill from the Federal Trade Commission to the CFPA.” [Kate Davidson, Charlene Carter and Benton Ives, “Consumer Protection, Credit Card Bill Approved,” CQ Committee Coverage, 10/22/09]

Jeb Hensarling voted against an amendment that would “prohibit consumer reporting agencies from using the number of enquiries made with respect to a consumer’s credit report to lower the consumer’s credit score.”

Jeb Hensarling voted against an amendment to the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 “that would prohibit consumer reporting agencies from using the number of enquiries made with respect to a consumer’s credit report to lower the consumer’s credit score.” [Liriel Higa and Siobhan Hughes, “Panel OK’s Legislation Allowing Financial Institutions To Bypass State Regulations,” CQ Committee Coverage, 07/24/03]

Jeb Hensarling voted against a bill that would “block creditors from providing information to credit reporting agencies about a newly opened credit card account until the consumer uses or activates the card.”

Jeb Hensarling voted against a bill, in the House Financial Services Committee, which would “amend the Truth in Lending Act of 1968 to provide additional protections to consumers in the issuance and use of credit.” The bill would “block creditors from providing information to credit reporting agencies about a newly opened credit card account until the consumer uses or activates the card.” [Kate Davidson and Clea Benson, “Committee Approves Restrictions on Credit Card Companies,” CQ Committee Coverage, 04/22/09]

Jeb Hensarling’s “Financial CHOICE Act would eliminate the CFPB’s authority to supervise […] credit reporting agencies” and “to fine companies for breaking the law or order them to provide refunds to consumers cheated out of their money.”

According to Consumer Union, “Representative [Jeb] Hensarling’s Financial CHOICE Act would eliminate the CFPB’s authority to supervise banks, credit reporting agencies, and payday lenders. The watchdog would lose its ability to stop unfair, deceptive, and abusive practices, and would be stripped of the power to fine companies for breaking the law or order them to provide refunds to consumers cheated out of their money.” [“HOUSE BILL WOULD GUT THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU,” States News Service, 04/26/17]

Please let us know if you have any questions about Hensarling’s background with Equifax or his record doing the bidding of the financial services industry.

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