March 14, 2018
Let’s Prosecute Equifax Executives, Not Immunize Equifax From Lawsuits
Statement of Bartlett Naylor, Financial Policy Advocate, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Division
Note: Today, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia announced criminal charges against an Equifax executive for illegal insider trading in advance of the company’s September 2017 announcement about a historic data breach that affected more than 140 million American customers. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission also announced parallel civil charges.
Wall Street crime will abate only when regulators hold individual perpetrators accountable. So it is welcome news that prosecutors are focusing on individual executives at Equifax who are responsible for misconduct instead of just fining the company.
The Equifax scandal demands further reforms, including an investigation of other senior officers who sold stock with early knowledge of the data breach. Congress should approve strong new rules that protect consumers from these breaches.
Yet later today, the U.S. Senate is expected to approve a major Wall Street deregulation package (S. 2155) that weakens protections for consumers. Shockingly, this legislation insulates companies like Equifax from certain lawsuits after data breaches. Congress must do more to protect consumers.