fintech

Democrats seek info on CFPB official’s ties to Christian group
Paul Watkins spent three years at the conservative Alliance Defending Freedom

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and other Democrats want documents from the CFPB on the hiring of Paul Watkins as director of the Office of Innovation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A group of Democrats, including presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, are continuing to pressure the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over a senior official’s ties to a conservative Christian group.

In a letter sent Wednesday to CFPB Director Kathleen Kraninger, Warren — along with Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois, Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts and Katie Porter of California — demanded documents related to hiring Paul Watkins as director of the Office of Innovation, which has the power to grant fintech firms limited immunity from consumer protection laws.

A conversation with Domitille Dessertine, head of fintech in France
Fintech Beat podcast, Ep. 14

The Arc de Triomphe is seen in Paris at night. (Credit: Leo Patrizi/iStock)

Digging further into Libra's origin story
Fintech Beat podcast, Ep. 13

Facebook's Libra crypto coin logo is picture next to gold Bitcoins. (Cheng Feng Chiang/iStock)

Rating change: Hurd retirement moves Texas district toward Democrats
Three-term Republican won his Clinton seat along U.S.-Mexico border by less than 1,000 votes in 2018

Texas Rep. Will Hurd will not seek another term in 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Will Hurd of Texas has been considered one of the Republicans’ strongest incumbents. He proved that last fall, when he was one of just three in the House GOP Conference to win reelection in a district that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016.

But Hurd, who founded a cybersecurity firm before running for Congress, announced Thursday night that he will be returning to his roots.

Chief administrative officer warns employees: Shape up or risk being outsourced
Congress is not looking to outsource CAO services — yet, Philip Kiko says

House Chief Administrative Officer Philip Kiko said Congress could be tempted to outsource CAO services to the private sector. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House chief administrative officer struck an ominous tone in a staff meeting Wednesday, warning employees that Congress could eventually look to outsource many of their services to private sector vendors if they don’t step up and meet member demands.

In an all-hands meeting broadcast on YouTube, Philip Kiko focused on a set of recommendations approved by the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress last week and his appearance before that same committee on July 11, both of which yielded criticism of his office’s performance.

Senate Banking members take skeptical look at cryptocurrencies
Blockchain firms have tried selling lawmakers on the potential for dramatically reduced transaction costs.

Senate Banking Chairman Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, sees data privacy as one of the primary risks. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Concerns over data privacy and skepticism about just how unique and beneficial cryptocurrencies and other blockchain-based digital assets could be dominated Tuesday’s Senate Banking Committee hearing on regulating the new technology.

“This new digital currency and blockchain technology is a very real — and potentially helpful — innovation,” said Chairman Michael D. Crapo, R-Idaho. “It’s also potentially harmful as there can be some serious risk involved in it.”

DOD workers bought thousands of Chinese electronics vulnerable to hacks, spying
More than 9,000 commercially available products could be used to spy on or hack U.S. military personnel and facilities

Aerial view of the Pentagon building photographed on Sept. 24, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Defense Department employees have procured thousands of printers, cameras and computers that carry known cybersecurity risks, and the practice may be continuing, according to an audit released Tuesday by the Pentagon’s inspector general.

More than 9,000 commercially available information technology products bought in fiscal 2018 could be used to spy on or hack U.S. military personnel and facilities, the report said. Without fixing oversight of such purchases, more risks lie ahead, potentially including perils for top-dollar weapons that use such “commercial-off-the-shelf” or COTS devices.

Capital One hack gets attention of Senate panel, New York AG
The breach affects at least 100 million Americans and 6 million Canadians, according to the company

Senate Banking Chairman Mike Crapo said he and Letitia James, New York state Attorney General, will probe the Capital One data breach that the company reported late Monday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Banking Chairman Michael D. Crapo and New York state Attorney General Letitia James said they will probe the data breach suffered by credit card issuer Capital One, which the company reported late Monday.

“I have concerns about all aspects of this,” Crapo said about the Capital One breach during a Tuesday morning hearing on cryptocurrencies. “We want to understand how this happened, how other breaches happened ... and we want to know how vulnerabilities [appear] in systems and figure out what we must do to deal with them at a policy level. I don’t have answers yet, but yes, we need to figure that out and we do have concerns about those vulnerabilities.”

Facebook’s currency plan makes fintech a tough sell in Congress
Some members are conflating disdain for Facebook with other, more vital fintech innovation, Schweikert says

House Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters has criticized Facebook’s new cryptocurrency offering, Libra, calling it an “unchecked expansion” into the lives of the company’s users. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Members of Congress who support the development of new financial technologies say their job might have gotten tougher after Facebook announced its plan to issue a cryptocurrency.

Lawmakers used hearings in both chambers this month to roundly censure Facebook’s proposed Libra, which the social media company says could provide financial services to people who can’t rely on banks.

How the Bank of England is keeping pace with the surge in fintech
Fintech Beat podcast, Episode 12

(iStock)