And what evidence does Senator Crapo have to support his claim? You may recall back in June, I told you about records we obtained from the CFPB, revealing that the agency has spent millions of dollars for the warrantless collection and analysis of Americans' financial transactions. It gets worse. The documents also reveal that CFPB contractors may be required to share the information with " additional government entities ."
So, in sum, the CFPB is collecting financial data on American citizens without their knowledge and spreading it throughout our entire system of government - all under the direction and control of our Big Brother, President Obama. Since it's been a couple of months since we've discussed the records, let's review the most important information we uncovered:
- Overlapping contracts with multiple credit reporting agencies and accounting firms to gather, store, and share credit card data as shown in the task list of a contract with Argus Information & Advisory Services LLC worth $2.9 million.
Deloitte Consulting: solicitation issue date 11/30/2011, award effective date 05/29/2012;
Argus: solicitation issue date 02/14/2012, award effective date 03/15/2012;
Experian: solicitation issue date 07/03/2012, award effective date 09/24/2012.
- A provision stipulating that "The contractor recognizes that, in performing this requirement, the Contractor may obtain access to non-public, confidential information, Personally Identifiable Information (PII), or proprietary information."
- A stipulation that "The Contractor may be required to share credit card data collected from the Banks with additional government entities as directed by the Contracting Officer's Representative (COR)."
The full extent of the CFPB personal financial data collection program is revealed in a document obtained by Judicial Watch entitled "INDEFINITE-DELIVERY INDEFINITE-QUANTITY (IDIQ) STATEMENT OF WORK."
Issued by CFPB Contracting Officer Xiaoling Ang on July 3, 2012, the IDIQ document's stated objective: "The CFPB seeks to acquire and maintain a nationally representative panel of credit information on consumers for use in a wide range of policy research projects... The panel shall be a random sample of consumer credit files obtained from a national database of credit files."
To accomplish this objective, the CFPB describes the scope of the program :
The panel shall include 5 million consumers, and joint borrowers, co-signers, and authorized users [emphasis added]. The initial panel shall contain 10 years of historical data on a quarterly basis [emphasis added]. The initial sample shall be drawn from current records and historical data appended for that sample as well as additional samples during the intervening years [emphasis added] to make the combined samples representative at each point in time.
The CFPB data collection program has been highly controversial since the April 2013 hearing, when Cordray disclosed elements of the venture at a Senate Banking Committee hearing. At the time, the US Chamber of Commerce accused the CFPB of breaking the law by demanding the account-level data without a warrant or National Security Letter.
Now, in the wake of the IRS scandal and National Security Agency (NSA) revelations, what was a controversy is now a full-blown scandal.
The Obama administration's warrantless collection of the private financial information of millions of Americans is mind-blowing. Is there anything that this administration thinks it can't do? These documents show that the Consumer Financial Protection Board is an out-of-control government agency that threatens the fundamental privacy and financial security of Americans. This is every bit as serious as the controversy over the NSA's activities.
Of course, the key question is what can be done about it. Senator Crapo had a response:
"The most important thing I can recommend right now is to get engaged...This will probably take longer to correct that we'd like to think. But each person is not just one voice. We all have a circle of influence, we have email lists, we have Christmas card lists, we have Facebook, we have Twitter. There are many ways you can influence people and get them to weigh in. America needs to stand up and demand that Congress fix this."
I'd add one other suggestion. Please consider supporting Judicial Watch with a tax-deductible contribution so that we can continue our efforts to expose waste, fraud and abuse inside this agency. We provide the hard evidence that Senators Crapo and Risch and others concerned about the CFPB can use to rein in this agency.
(BTW, if you'd like some more ammunition to use when crafting your calls and letters to Congress, click here and here for more examples of waste inside this reckless agency.)
One more note: After the Boise press conference, Judicial Watch hosted a reception for local Judicial Watch members with Senator Crapo. The turnout was fantastic (140 people in the middle of August) and it was a joy to meet so many faithful supporters of our work. The turnout, enthusiasm, and knowledge of that Boise crowd should serve a warning to corrupt politicians everywhere - Judicial Watch members are tough and are willing to hold them personally to account to the rule of law.