Rich Uncle Pennybags Trolls Equifax Senate Hearing

Activist dressed as the 'Monopoly guy' protests forced arbitration clauses
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 4, 2017 1:37 PM CDT
Rich Uncle Pennybags Trolls Equifax Senate Hearing
Rich Uncle Pennybags twirls his mustache in the background of the Equifax hearing.   (Roll Call)

If you've been watching the Senate Banking Committee hearing on the Equifax data breach Wednesday, you may have noticed a hard-to-miss attendee photobombing the proceedings behind former Equifax CEO Richard Smith: Rich Uncle Pennybags, the well-known character from the Monopoly board game. (See the "Monopoly guy" in action in this Roll Call video.) It was actually Amanda Werner, representing the groups Americans for Financial Reform and Public Citizen, wearing a top hat and white mustache and carrying a monocle, oversized paper money, and "get out of jail free" cards, CNBC reports.

"It’s to protest Equifax’s behavior in the wake of the breach, and to draw attention to forced arb CRA," Americans for Financial Reform explains on Twitter. "Forced arb" refers to forced arbitration clauses, which the financial industry commonly uses and which limit consumers' ability to take problems with financial institutions to court. The House has voted to do away with a July rule issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that curtails the use of such clauses, and Senate leadership is also considering rolling the rule back. "Arbitration is a rigged game," Werner says. "Bank lobbyists and their allies in Congress are trying to overturn the CFPB's rule so they can continue to rip off consumers with impunity." Public Citizen says such clauses are like a "get out of jail free" card for banks, allowing them to skirt punishment for wrongdoing, the Hill reports. (Read more Equifax stories.)

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