By Mark Hosenball and Alina Selyukh
WASHINGTON Jan 13 Democratic members of the
Financial Services Committee of the U.S. House of
Representatives have called on the panel to investigate the
hacking of credit and debit card data belonging to millions of
customers of retailer Target Corp.
The request piggybacks on a similar move by Senate Democrats
on Friday as lawmakers respond to the massive breach at Target,
the No. 3 U.S. retailer, during the holiday shopping season,
which resulted in the theft of about 40 million credit and debit
card records and 70 million other records containing customer
In a letter to Jeb Hensarling, the committee's Republican
chairman, 17 committee Democrats, led by ranking member Maxine
Waters, asked for a "full Financial Services Committee hearing."
It was unclear whether the committee's Republican majority
would respond to the request.
The letter said a hearing should review current consumer
protection laws and determine what could be done to ensure the
future security of consumers' card information.
"It is incumbent upon our Committee to explore whether
industry data protection standards are appropriate, and examine
whether heightened regulatory standards are needed to more
effectively protect consumers," the Democrats wrote.
After the request from Senate Democrats last week, Senate
Banking Committee leaders have confirmed they plan to hold a
hearing on data security issues in late January.
Senate Commerce committee chairman Jay Rockefeller is also
facing calls for a hearing.
Although the hearings would allow for an airing of
grievances and potentially bring Target officials to Washington
for a grilling about how the case has been handled, they would
not necessarily result in taking any kind of action or in
A bill by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy
remains the only data security bill on tap for now.
One of the co-signers, Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal
of Connecticut, told Reuters on Friday that he "will be talking
to my colleagues about measures that may complement the Leahy
The National Association of Federal Credit Unions on Monday
sent letters to Congressional leaders, demanding action on data
The Federal Trade Commission, the Securities and Exchange
Commission and state attorneys general would potentially look
into Target's actions in this situation.
The FTC does not confirm or deny the existence of ongoing
investigations and would only get involved if Target is shown to
have failed to protect its customers' data.
Target has said it is working in partnership with the Secret
Service, the lead agency involved in the data breach case, and
the Department of Justice but did not comment on any FTC
In late trading on the New York Stock Exchange Target shares
were down 1.58 percent at $61.60, outpacing the overall market