PROTECT YOUR WALLET: My Piece On The CFPB Monitoring Your Spending Habits

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA) today spoke on the Senate floor about the security risks created by the Dodd-Frank Act, legislation enacted five years ago. Senator Perdue specifically called for Congressional oversight of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) an agency collecting an alarming amount of personal financial information on American consumers. 

Click here to watch the video or click the image below. 


“Five years ago today, President Obama signed into law the Dodd-Frank Act. 

Following the 2008 financial crisis, Washington passed the 2,300 page bill creating more burdensome regulations that did not solve the crisis, and in many ways made it worse. 

You’re going to hear a lot about the failures of the Dodd-Frank Act over the next few years. 

What was intended to rein in five major banks who lead us into trouble in the 2008 crisis, has created unintended consequences that are effecting thousands of small town regional banks across our country. 

I rise today to speak about one agency created by the Dodd-Frank law, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – or the CFPB. 

While many Americans may not have heard of the CFPB before, they will in the future. This agency touches every aspect of people’s lives, from credit card records, mortgage applications, student loans, car sales, and much more.

The CFPB seemingly knows more about American consumers than we know about the very agency that is supposed to be protecting us

According to a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), every month the CFPB scrubs data on credit card transactions, debit card transactions, consumer mortgage loans, car loans, and hundreds of thousands of other personal financial information.  

This leads to several questions. Why are they collecting this information? How does collecting credit card statements help protect consumers? How secure is all this data? 

Unfortunately, we know very little about what the CFPB is doing with all of this sensitive information, except looking for additional opportunities to regulate. 

Remember, before 2009 we already had six prudential regulators mandated among other things, to protect the consumer. And yet, as a result of 2008, instead of streamlining and consolidating, we actually added a seventh prudential regulator charged with consumer protection, the CFPB. 

Today, the CFPB operates on top of the existing regulators in addition to, not in replace of, these agencies and duplicating efforts among these other agencies. 

By design, Dodd-Frank ensured that the CFPB doesn’t have the same oversight controls as other agencies. Currently, Congress doesn’t even have control over how the bureau spends its funds or even is appropriated.

The CFPB operates outside of the regular appropriations process of Congress – which other independent agencies like the Securities & Exchange Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Protection and Safety Commission, and others – are all subject to. 

Why would any government agency with access to that much consumer data be unaccountable to Congress?  

Recently, I introduced legislation to help shed more light on this agency and bring the CFPB under the appropriations process of the U.S. Congress. 

The sheer volume of consumer data being collected by the CFPB is concerning and ripe for abuse. In fact, the GAO and the Federal Reserve Inspector General both have warned about the need for increased security. 

Without full Congressional oversight, how can we be sure this consumer data is secure? What kind of records does the CFPB keep? How would we know if it has been compromised? 

We already have seen the devastating effects of data breaches all over our federal government and the damage its doing to the American people.  

Across all sectors of government, including the most recent OPM data breach impacting millions of Americans and some of our intelligence assets abroad, we’ve seen the potential exposure of extreme national security sensitive information.  

Also, we recently had a debate about privacy regarding the NSA metadata program. Many of my colleagues expressed outrage for the scope of the NSA program even when the mission was protecting national security. 

We are now talking about an agency collecting massive amounts of personal consumer data. Many times more data than the NSA programs. 

While the CFPB’s goal claims to be consumer protection, for all we know the information they’re collecting is even more susceptible to security threats and security breaches. 

If there is one thing we can agree upon, we need to make sure all American’s personal information is safe and secure – especially from Washington.

If some were upset about privacy in the NSA debate, we should certainly be paying attention to what the CFPB is doing with this personal information today. 

Getting the CFPB under Congressional oversight should not be a partisan issue. 

In order to protect consumers, we need to know what’s going on at the very government agency tasked with protecting them.

That’s why we need to put in place more transparency, not less. More control, more oversight. 

We can start by bringing the CFPB under Congressional oversight immediately so we can actually protect consumers, and stop the potential for abuse, fraud, or identity theft.

While this agency was originally designed to protect consumers, one can only wonder how Washington, collecting so much personal information, will actually protect them?

Mr. President, I will be speaking much more on this topic as the weeks go by. 

Let it be said tonight, that on the fifth anniversary of Dodd-Frank, we are beginning to look at the unintended consequences of this rogue agency, the CFPB.”