Enzi: Personal financial records are now fair game to govít super agency
Consumer privacy amendment is shut out
by U.S. Senator Mike Enzi media release
May 21, 2010
Washington, D.C. Ė U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., spent the week fighting to keep peopleís private financial records out of the hands of a soon-to-be-created Big Brother financial super agency. Unfortunately, supporters of the financial regulatory bill garnered enough votes to pass the privacy infringing bill and keep Enziís consumer privacy amendment from getting an up or down vote.
"It is a sad day when Washington creeps into yet another aspect of the personal lives of Americans without a single check or balance in place. Part of the financial regulatory reform bill is being sold under the guise of Ďconsumer protectioní when in reality it is more like Ďconsumer intrusioní," said Enzi.
Enzi filed an amendment to S. 3217, the cleverly named Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010. His amendment would have required written permission from an individual before the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau could look over that personís banking activities and credit card purchases. Majority leadership refused to allow the Enzi amendment to be voted on before passing the bill last night by a vote of 59-39.
"It is obvious that by keeping this amendment from a vote, Congress intends to rifle through the private personal financial records of Americans. This is another case of a bill with a nice sounding title but where nothing in the bill actually reflects the title. Correcting amendments have been largely defeated following the Chicago style pattern of Ďtake it or forget ití legislating," said Enzi. "Weíve had enough government takeovers and bailouts already. Itís gotten so bad that now Big Brother wants to snoop in your personal financial records."
Specific Sections of Private Record Intrusion
Enzi took issue with the "Consumer Protection" Title Ten in the bill. On page 1239 Ė thatís Section 1022 (c)(4)(B), it says, "the Bureau may:
(B) require persons to file with the Bureau, under oath or otherwise, in such form and within such reasonable period of time as the Bureau may prescribe, by rule or order, annual or special reports, or answers in writing to specific questions, furnishing such information as the Bureau may require;"
Continuing on to the following paragraph (C) on page 1240, "The Bureau may: make public such information obtained by the Bureau under this section, as is in the public interest in reports or otherwise in the manner best suited for public information and use.
"In case you missed the implications of this, I will spell it out further. Not only could the Bureau have the power under this bill to make consumers testify under oath, the Bureau could then publish any or all information they have gathered about consumers and publish or use this information as they see fit," Enzi said on the Senate floor.
Enzi also noted that the bill would not only allow the federal government to look through everything from ATM transactions to paying bills and keeping track of what people purchase, it would also create an Office of Financial Research tasked specifically to comb through and compile information on personal financial records.
"The federal government could now be allowed to collect all kinds of financial data about consumers, not just about potentially deceptive practices or even shady Wall Street actions, but more specifically monitoring how we as consumers do our banking, how and why we purchase products, where and when we pull $20 out of the ATM. I ask you, how does this snooping into our daily personal lives protect consumers?" asked Enzi. "I hope my colleagues will realize the severe intrusions this bill will have on peopleís personal financial records and make much needed changes during the conference committee."
The bill will now go to a conference committee to merge the Senate and House versions of the bill.