Obama Regime Paid Contractors To Gather, Analyze Financial Data Of Millions Of Americans

Obama Administration Paid Contractors Millions To Snoop Through Americans’ Financial Data – Daily Caller

A secretive data collection program run by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau allows private contractors access to millions of Americans’ personal financial information, according to a government accountability group.

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The information may also be shared with other federal agencies.

Documents obtained by Washington-based Judicial Watch through the Freedom of Information Act illustrate the cost and scope of the program, which business groups and some Republican lawmakers have assailed as invasive and potentially illegal.

The Daily Caller News Foundation previously reported how the CFPB compelled banks to comply with the program by making successful passage of routine inspections conditional on supplying massive amounts of their customers’ financial information. The new documents shed light on what happens to that data once banks have turned it over.

Multiple credit reporting agencies and accounting firms signed contracts with the bureau in 2012 to gather, store and analyze mountains of data on Americans’ credit card transactions. One company, Argus Information and Advisory Services, was paid $2.9 million last year to perform such tasks, with a total payout of $15 million scheduled for 2017.

Experian, another information services group, was tasked with assembling a “nationally representative panel of credit information on consumers” from “a national database of credit files.” The contract states that the panel will include the contents of 5 million consumer accounts along with their credit scores, postal code, age and year of birth.

The panel will initially contain ten years’ worth of individual consumer information, will be updated quarterly and will periodically add new credit files from the CFPB’s growing national database. The contract is worth almost $8.5 million.

A final company, Deloitte Consulting, is being paid nearly $5 million to provide software and computer instruction related to the program.

“When you’re trying to snoop into the files of millions, it’s expensive,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, in an interview with TheDC News Foundation.

Another document states that contractors “may be required by the CFPB to share credit card data collected from the Banks with additional government entities,” raising the prospect that personal financial information may be sent to one or more unspecified federal agencies.

“Who knows where else they’re sending [the data] to?” said Fitton. “There’s talk about tying it to mortgage data, so they might be sharing with the Federal Housing Finance Agency.”

The Experian contract says that the information is being collected “for use in a wide range of policy research projects,” echoing CFPB Director Richard Cordray’s April 23 contention that the data will be used only to help “inform policy decisions.”

Fitton, however, believes the program is not only wasteful but a threat to financial security. “This data can only be managed by hiring scores of contractors and outside government entities to analyze it,” he said. “When you widen the circle, you lessen security. It would not surprise me if in a year or two we hear about some contractor running off with this data.”

“The NSA stuff is almost a sideshow compared to the financial information that the government’s compiling,” he concluded.

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The Seventh Circuit Blocks The HHS Mandate For A Private Business

The Seventh Circuit Blocks The HHS Mandate For A Private Business – National Review

Late yesterday afternoon, the Seventh Circuit granted an emergency injunction against the HHS mandate – preventing its enforcement against an Illinois business and its owners. My colleagues at the ACLJ represent Korte & Luitjohan Contractors, Inc., a family-owned, full-service construction contractor. The company is located in Highland, Ill., and employs about 90 workers.

The brief opinion is worth a read in its entirety, but two parts stand out. First, the court disagreed with the Tenth Circuit’s recent decision rejecting Hobby Lobby’s request for a similar injunction. In a key paragraph the court stated:

The government also argues that any burden on religious exercise is minimal and attenuated, relying on a recent decision by the Tenth Circuit in Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Sebelius, No. 12‐6294 (10th Cir. Dec. 20, 2012). Hobby Lobby, like this case, involves a claim for injunctive and declaratory relief against the mandate brought by a secular, for‐profit employer. On an interlocutory appeal from the district court’s denial of a preliminary injunction, the Tenth Circuit denied an injunction pending appeal, noting that “the particular burden of which plaintiffs complain is that funds, which plaintiffs will contribute to a group health plan, might, after a series of independent decisions by health care providers and patients covered by [the corporate] plan, subsidize someone else’s participation in an activity condemned by plaintiff[s’] religion.” Id. at 7 (quoting Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Sebelius, 870 F. Supp. 2d 1278, 1294 (W.D. Okla. 2012)). With respect, we think this misunderstands the substance of the claim. The religious‐liberty violation at issue here inheres in the coerced coverage of contraception, abortifacients, sterilization, and related services, not – or perhaps more precisely, not only – in the later purchase or use of contraception or related services.

This is exactly right. The mandated coverage exists – regardless of the actions or activities of the individual employees – and it is the mandate that violates the religious liberty of the employer.

Second, the court distinguished Justice Sotomayor’s recent decision not to grant Hobby Lobby emergency relief, rightly noting that Justice Sotomayor applied a much different standard:

But the “demanding standard” for issuance of an extraordinary writ by the Supreme Court… differs significantly from the standard applicable to a motion for a stay or injunction pending appeal in this court. As Justice Sotomayor noted, the entitlement to relief must be “‘indisputably clear.’”

As we begin the new year, we at the ACLJ are exceedingly thankful that each of our for-profit clients has now obtained an injunction against the mandate. Their most fundamental rights to religious liberty enjoy the protection of federal court, at least for now. There is much work left to be done, and a Supreme Court battle looms in 2013.

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