It is unlikely that Richard Smith, ex-CEO of the credit reporting agency Equifax, will see prison time. This week Smith sat before the Senate Banking Committee in Washington to elaborate on the devastating breach that has compromised nearly half of America’s private information. The company was hacked multiple times from March through July of 2017. Equifax only delivered news half a year later in the midst of the Hurricane Irma panic (and more recently burying more bad news hours after the Las Vegas attack). It was soon after these revelations that Smith stepped down as CEO, but his fall from endangering half the country will be cushioned by approximately 90 million dollars.
During his testimony, however, the room was at least visited by one of the few multi-millionaires to actually go to jail.
In one of those rare moments that actually made C-SPAN entertaining, Rich Uncle Pennybags, better known as Mr. Monopoly, took a seat a few rows behind Richard Smith. As the testimony went on, just over Smith’s shoulder and in plain view of the camera, Pennybags adjusted their monocle, fiddled with their mustache, feigned shock at every bombshell of mass negligence and patted down sweat with fistfuls of money.
SCREAMING. A+ troll
— Shoshana Weissmann (@senatorshoshana) October 4, 2017
Under the dapper top hat was Amanda Werner, a campaign manager for the non-profit groups Public Citizen and Americans for Financial Reform. The reason she hit up the Senate hearing dressed like everyone’s favorite illustrated robber baron was to highlight the fact that despite the millions of people Equifax has put in harm’s way, they’re not only going to get away with it, but the Republican party continues working towards making it easier for them.
The day of the data breach announcement, many noticed the dubious nature of the resources made available by Equifax. To sign up for their site just to check the status of your information, for example, required agreeing to clauses that would deny potential victims the ability to join a class action lawsuit. Werner was at Equifax’s hearing to protest the Republican party’s attempt to repeal the consumer protection rules that prevent banks and companies from slipping in mandatory arbitration clauses that goaltend legal action.
“They kept waiting for me to do something that was going to get me kicked out,” Werner told Vice about her big stunt, “but luckily I did my homework, I knew what I was allowed to do and not do.”
Werner also told GQ that she crashed the Wells Fargo hearing the day before but didn’t get a good enough seat to be noticed.
“My personal information was hacked in that breach,” Werner told Vice. “And so I’m glad that by kind of mocking the out-of-touch CEOs that have been testifying to Congress, we were actually channeling the voice of the people who want to see real justice done here.”
There is no confirmation if that clown with the stomach full of butterflies and a bucket of water in his leg will join ADAPT the next time Republicans attempt to repeal the ACA.