Judicial Watch • JW Obtains Records Detailing Obama Administration’s Warrantless Collection of Citizens’ Personal Financial Data

JW Obtains Records Detailing Obama Administration’s Warrantless Collection of Citizens’ Personal Financial Data

JW Obtains Records Detailing Obama Administration’s Warrantless Collection of Citizens’ Personal Financial Data

JUNE 27, 2013

(Washington, DC)Judicial Watch announced today that it has obtained records from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) revealing that the agency has spent millions of dollars for the warrantless collection and analysis of Americans’ financial transactions. The documents also reveal that CFPB contractors may be required to share the information with “additional government entities.”

The records were obtained pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed on April 24, 2013, following the April 23 Senate Banking Committee testimony of CFPB Director Richard Cordray. The documents uncovered by Judicial Watch include:

  • 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;
    • 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 obtains from a national database of credit files.”

To accomplish this objective, the CFPB describes the scope of the program accordingly:

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 combines sample 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.

“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?” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “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.”

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  • Babylonandon

    With the political powers that be in Wisconsin suddenly going big on allowing bounty hunters in this state, I am starting to suspect that there is some scheme afoot – LIKE USING BLACKWATER OR ONE OF THE OTHER BIG PARAMILITARY MERCENARY UNITS ABOUT TO BE OUT OF A JOB IN THE MIDEAST – to act as an outside-of-the-Constitution agent of the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT under bounty hunting rules to round up the people that have been selected using all this NSA crap as a danger to the goals of the powers that be.

  • captdot

    Another government bureaucracy that is overstepping into the American people’s personal lives. How do you like this? Phone records, emails, credit cards, medical information… What’s next?

    Also, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is connected to the Federal Reserve and is not accountable to anyone. Congress has no power over what it does.




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