State AGs Line Up Against BCFP to Fight For Public Access to Complaint Database

The new attorney general of New York is picking up the consumer protection battle right where her predecessor left off, and is planning on taking on the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.

Barbara Underwood, who took over from Eric Schneiderman last month when he resigned abruptly, said she is leading a group of 14 state attorneys general who want the BCFP to maintain public access to the agency’s consumer complaint database. The letter is a response to one of the 12 Requests For Information issued by the BCFP earlier this year — specifically the one on its consumer complaint database.

“The CFPB public database represents an admirable commitment to transparency,” Underwood said. “By moving to eliminate public access to the database, the Trump administration is yet again putting corporate interests over those of consumers, shielding corporate wrongdoing from public view.”

Joining Underwood are the attorneys general of California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington, as well as the Hawaii Office of Consumer Protection.

In the letter, the AGs state how their offices have used the complaint database to identify bad actors, trends in the economy, and to help codify law enforcement initiatives.

As the chief consumer protection officers of our states, we have found the database to be an invaluable resource to identify trends and patterns, and to determine if an issue is widespread or isolated. In addition to the benefits the database provides to our offices and other state consumer protection agencies, it also represents an admirable commitment to transparency that benefits all Americans.

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