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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Schumer Staff Pulls Credit Report On Republican

Apparently this is true:
Federal prosecutors have opened an inquiry into allegations that two Democratic National Committee employees illegally tapped into Lt. Gov. Michael Steele's credit history.

WBAL-TV 11 News reporter David Collins reported the workers obtained the report in July while executing opposition research on the lieutenant governor.

In June, the Republican lieutenant governor announced he had established an exploratory committee to explore a candidacy for the U.S. Senate.
I say it's true because the DSSC reported the crime to the US Attorney themselves. Michael Steele's chief of staff released a statement saying that it was two of Schumer's staffers.
According to the FBI, two Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee employees illegally obtained Steele's credit report. ,,,

Katie Barge and Lauren Weiner were working on opposition research in July. They found Steele's Social Security number in a court document and used it to obtain his credit report.
The article goes on to quote an "expert" who says that misrepresentation must have been involved and that it is "extremely unethical". I am sure the expert was misquoted or only partially quoted, perhaps in an attempt to minimize the offense. It's a crime.

Depending on the exact details what was done may violate other statutues, but it is illegal under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Section 604 sets forth the permissible circumstances under which a credit reporting agency can furnish a credit report.
Section 606 sets forth the required disclosures to the consumer and the representations that must be made to the credit reporting agency.
Section 616 allows Steele to get civil damages, including punitive damages.
Section 619:
Any person who knowingly and willfully obtains information on a consumer from a consumer reporting agency under false pretenses shall be fined under title 18, United States Code, imprisoned for not more than 2 years, or both.
Under the amendments to FCRA contained in the FACT Act (amended FCRA text here in pdf) the agencies are supposed to provide consumers a list of the people who have accessed their credit reports in the last year. I think every Republican politician should ask for their annual free credit report. This could be very interesting. Maybe the Democratic politicians should do the same.

I'm sure Chuckie will step up to the plate and take responsibility for his staffer.

I'm sure of it.
What the heck were they thinking?!
So how did Rove trick them into doing it?
Gindy - and a crime under federal statute.

SC&A - I doubt Schumer knew about it. If these two did this on their own, then it raises the question of how the information was used.

Esther & Tommy - I bet Karl Rove had them so baffled with his mind ray that they weren't thinking at all.
if it didn't happen in front of a camera, then Schumer didnt know about it. The most dangerous place in DC is between Schumer and a camera.
A bit of a grandstander, eh?

You're awfully harsh on the guy. He has done some good stuff in the field of consumer interest legislation. I do find his view of the Constitution suspect, but then he's not a judge.

As for the hearings, it wasn't that brilliant of a performance by most of the senators. Unfortunately it was obvious that some of them hadn't done their homework.
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