Consumer credit reporting agency Equifax reportedly lobbied lawmakers and federal agencies for looser regulations just months before the company fell victim to a major cyberattack leaving the personal info of 143 million people vulnerable.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Equifax, one of the three main consumer credit reporting agencies in the U.S., spent at least $500,000 lobbying federal agencies and lawmakers for looser credit-reporting regulations in the first half of 2017, according to the company’s congressional lobbying disclosure reports. One of the main issues that Equifax lobbied for was the limiting of the legal liability of credit-reporting agencies.
Equifax also lobbied regulatory agencies and Congress on issues related to “data security and breach notification” and “cybersecurity threat information sharing.” The company regularly spends large sums of money on lobbying: in 2015 and 2016 the company’s reports show that they spent approximately $1.1 million and $1.02 million respectively on lobbying. In those years, the company had similar lobbying issues but the legal liability issue was added in 2017. In comparison, TransUnion and Experian PLC, two other credit-reporting agencies, spent at least $128,000 and $690,000, respectively on lobbying in the first half of 2017.
Equifax did not respond to requests for comment from the WSJ relating to their lobbying, but a statement on the company’s website claims that Equifax believes is in the best interest of the company and its shareholders “to engage constructively and responsibly in the public policy and political process when necessary to advance and protect the long-term interests of the company.”