Bipartisan group of senators call for investigation into Equifax - ABC21: Your Weather Authority

Bipartisan group of senators call for investigation into Equifax

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A group of 36 senators is calling on federal organizations to investigate Equifax insider trading allegations.

The bipartisan group is calling on the Securities & Exchange Commission, Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission to investigate the sale of nearly $2 million in Equifax securities held by high-level Equifax executives shortly after the company learned of a massive cybersecurity breach.

The Associated Press reports the breach happened between May and July. It affected about 143 million in the United States, as well as some people in Canada and the United Kingdom. The company discovered the hack on July 29 and publicly announced it more than a month later. 

READ MORE: What you need to know about the Equifax data breach

The group is calling for the investigation after it was revealed three top level Equifax executives, the Chief Financial Officer; the President of U.S. Information Solutions; and the President of Workforce Solutions, sold large amounts of their shares of Equifax stock. The customers and the public were not notified until September 7, more than a month after the executives sold their stock.

The Associated Press reports the sales effectively protected the executives when the stock dropped 13 percent after the announcement of the breach. Equifax says the executives were unaware of the hack, saying they "had no knowledge that an intrusion had occurred at the time they sold their shares."

READ MORE| Equifax: Stock-selling execs unaware of breach

“As part of your investigations, we request that you conduct a thorough examination of any unusual trading, including any atypical options trading, for violations of insider trading law.  To the extent that your investigations uncover any information regarding whether Equifax management employed reasonable measures to ensure the security of the now compromised data prior to this cyber breach, we would appreciate your sharing these details,” wrote the senators. “We request that you spare no effort in your investigations and in enforcing the law to the fullest extent against anyone who is found to be at fault.” 

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined U.S. Senators Reed (D-RI), Kennedy (R-LA), Baldwin (D-WI), Heller (R-NV), Blumenthal (D-CT), Collins (R-ME), Booker (D-NJ), Casey (D-PA), Cortez-Masto (D-NV), Donnelly (D-IN), Durbin (D-IL), Feinstein (D-CA), Gillibrand (D-NY), Hassan (D-NH), Harris (D-CA), Heitkamp (D-ND), King (I-ME), Klobuchar (D-MN), Leahy (D-VT), Manchin (D-WV), Markey (D-MA), McCaskill (D-MO), Menendez (D-NJ), Merkley (D-OR), Murray (D-WA), Sanders (I-VT), Schatz (D-HI), Shaheen (D-NH), Tester (D-MT), Udall (D-NM), Van Hollen (D-MD), Warner (D-VA), Warren (D-MA), Whitehouse (D-RI), and Wyden (D-OR) in sending the letter. You can read the full text of the letter below:

September 12, 2017

Dear Chairman Clayton, Attorney General Sessions, and Acting Chairman Ohlhausen:

We write to request that the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice, and the Federal Trade Commission investigate disturbing reports that senior Equifax executives sold more than $1.5 million in Equifax securities within days of a cybersecurity breach that may have compromised the personal information, including Social Security numbers, of as many as 143 million Americans.  In addition, there are reports that Equifax “also lost control of an unspecified number of driver’s license numbers, along with the credit card numbers for 209,000 consumers and credit dispute documents for 182,000.”

As part of your investigations, we request that you conduct a thorough examination of any unusual trading, including any atypical options trading, for violations of insider trading law.  To the extent that your investigations uncover any information regarding whether Equifax management employed reasonable measures to ensure the security of the now compromised data prior to this cyber breach, we would appreciate your sharing these details.   

We request that you spare no effort in your investigations and in enforcing the law to the fullest extent against anyone who is found to be at fault. 

We thank you for your consideration, and we request periodic updates on your progress.

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