Trump’s FTC Confirms Lawyer for Notorious Payday Con Man to Lead Its Consumer Protection Division

Andrew Smith Previously Represented a Payday Lender/Race Car Driver Who the FTC Obtained a $1.3 Billion Judgment Against for Deceiving Consumers – The Lender Was Also Sentenced to 16 Years in Prison


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, consumer watchdog organization Allied Progress criticized the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for confirming Andrew M. Smith – an attorney for the likes of Equifax and a notorious payday lender the FTC obtained a $1.3 billion judgement against for deceiving consumers – as director of its Bureau of Consumer Protection. Because of Mr. Smith’s vast client list, which he has refused to make public, he must recuse himself from much of the important consumer protection work he should be doing in his new post.

Andrew Smith has defended the worst of the worst when he could have been standing up for consumers — Equifax and credit reporting agencies in the wake of one of the worst personal data breaches in history, payday lenders that trap people in cycles of debt, you name it,” said Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress.

He continued, “Smith fought the FTC when it obtained a judgement against a notorious predatory lender $1.3 billion for deceiving consumers. That lender was sentenced to 16 years in prison and Smith is now in charge of protecting consumers at the FTC. It’s beyond swampy.”

I’m tempted to say this is a ‘fox in the henhouse’ situation but it’s actually more like the FTC has given the fox keys to the henhouse and asked him to protect the hens — they know he won’t and they don’t care,” he concluded.

WHAT YOU NEED TO NOW

  • Smith Encouraged Congress to Allow Unrestricted Payday Lending Nationally. In January 2018, Smith testified before the House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit in support of legislation that would “authorize unrestricted payday lending nationally.” [Statement of Andrew M. Smith, House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, 01/30/18; Hearing of the House Financial Services Committee, Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee on Opportunities and Challenges in the Fintech Marketplace, 01/30/18; H.R.4439 – Modernizing Credit Opportunities Act, 115th Congress, 11/16/17; Andrew Smith, “Giving the middle class credit: New bill a step in right direction,” The Hill, 02/24/18.]
  • After the Equifax Data Breach, Smith Testified in Congress, Attempting to Convince Senators the Industry Could Police Itself. After the Equifax data breach, Smith testified before the Senate Banking Committee on behalf of the Consumer Data Industry Association, an industry trade group whose members include Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. At the hearing, Smith “attempted to sway senators that the industry could police itself.” [Hearing of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs on Consumer Data, 10/17/17; About CDIA, Consumer Data Industry Association, accessed 05/15/18; “Senators Open to More Oversight of Credit Reporting Industry,” Congressional Quarterly News, 10/17/17.]

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