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September 22, 2005
Schumer Staffers Get Free Vacation For Privacy Violation

Senator Chuck Schumer, who runs the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, has long decried the potential for identity theft and the loss of privacy in the marketplace. In April of this year, Schumer introduced legislation to create an entire new bureaucracy for "data merchants", the Schumer-Nelson ID Theft Prevention Bill. What penalties does the Schumer-Nelson bill prescribe for violations? A thousand dollars per violation, for starters, and repeated violations probably would get escalated.

So what did Schumer and the DSCC do with two staffers that got caught with Lt. Governor Michael Steele's (R-MD) credit report? Apparently gave them a two-month vacation with pay, according to the New York Post:

Phil Singer, a spokesman for the Schumer-headed Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said two staffers were instantly suspended with pay in July after admitting they obtained the credit report of Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, who is running for Senate.

Sources familiar with the situation said the committee's head of research, Katie Barge, and a deputy, Lauren Weiner, got the credit report by using Steele's Social Security number, which they say they obtained from public documents.

Records obtained by The Post show the two continued to be paid by the Democratic committee at least through Aug. 31.

Katie Barge has quite a resum as a researcher. She worked in that capacity for Media Matters, and before that for the John Edwards presidential campaign. In fact, she did opposition research for Edwards according to Common Dreams, which touted her as a key player to David Brock at Media Matters.

It seems that Ms. Barge got hired by the DSCC for exactly the purpose for which she got suspended. It seems telling that the Senator who wants to impose a new licensing and compliance bureaucracy on so-called data merchants hires people like Barge and then expresses outrage when they perform the tasks that made her such an attractive candidate for their position.

The DSCC's suspension with pay -- such a painful scolding! -- earns Schumer the Captain Louis Renault Award, a recognition of hypocrisy so transparent that its existence serves only to entertain us. When Schumer starts treating his staff the way he proposes that the government treat the taxpayer, we'll alert the usual suspects.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 22, 2005 9:26 AM

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