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Jun 17, 2003
CONTACT: Jamie Court - 310-392-0522 x327
No Financial Privacy For Californians, None For Politicians Who Stop Bill
Social Security Numbers Of Assembly Members & Governor ReleasedThe Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) released the first four digits of the social security numbers of California politicians who voted down long awaited financial privacy legislation today in the California Assembly Banking and Finance Committee, and who could reconsider the bill as early as Monday.
Only Assembly Members Wiggins, Chan and Corbett voted "yes."
FTCR purchased those social security numbers on the Internet for $26 as a demonstration of how at risk individuals' personal financial information is without new privacy protections.
In addition, FTCR also published on the Internet the first three digits of Governor Davis's social security number because, although the governor declared support for the bill, Davis could force passage of the bill by using his personal influence with reluctant committee members or with the Speaker of the Assembly to appoint new committee members for the day if he chose to. Read FTCR's letter to Davis at http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/corporate/fs/fs003414.php3
Davis has said individuals' personal information should not be traded like baseball cards. FTCR posted its own version of Davis's trading card at http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/assets/scans/DavisPrivacyCard.jpg which includes the first three digits of his social security number. FTCR said, if Davis is serious about privacy, he should personally appear at the reconsideration hearing and personally work the vote.
"Politicians who are unwilling to protect their constituents privacy must realize that they have no privacy until new laws are passed," said Jamie Court, FTCR's executive director and author of Corporateering: How Corporate Power Steals Your Personal Freedom And What You Can Do About It. "No governor whose party controls both houses of the legislature could not get this popular a bill on his desk if he used all his influence. That a Democratic legislature has not passed such a modest step as requiring written consent before private information is shared shows the stranglehold of corporateering over the statehouse."
Banks, insurance companies and other corporate interests have spent more than $20 million in campaign contributions and lobbying expenses to kill the financial privacy bill, SB 1. A ballot initiative is now circulating with even stronger financial privacy protections and could be on the March ballot, potentially the same ballot as Governor Davis's recall.
"The committee members have sided with the corporateers and once again sold out California's chance to be a national leader on privacy protection," said Jerry Flanagan, a consumer advocate for FTCR. "Legislators must realize that their privacy is just as vulnerable as that of every Californian. The people of California will now have their say at the ballot box."
FTCR removed its opposition of the bill pending the adoption of amendments proposed in the committee analysis dated June 15, 2003 that would clearly require written consent before private information is shared and close a forty five day window allowing banks to share information regarding new accounts even after consent is denied.
Previous versions of the financial privacy bill, SB 1, have foundered in the Assembly Banking and Finance Committee as a result of opposition from bank-friendly legislators. Of the twelve members of the Banking and Finance Committee, only Assembly Member Lou Correa's social security number was not available on-line.
The social security numbers of Assembly Banking and Finance Committee Members opposed to SB 1 follow:
BOGH, RUSSELL VINCENT
CHERRY VALLEY, CA
CALDERON, RONALD S
CHAVEZ, EDWARD L
LA PUENTE, CA
HOUSTON, GUY S
SAN RAMON, CA
SAN FERNANDO, CA
STRICKLAND, ANTHONY A
THOUSAND OAKS, CA
VARGAS, JUAN C
SAN DIEGO, CA
The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) is a non-profit and non-partisan consumer advocacy organization. For more information, visit us on the web at www.consumerwatchdog.org or for more information about Corporateering visit www.corporateering.org .
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