Monopoly Man Crashes Equifax Hearing to Protest Forced Arbitration

Amanda Werner of Americans for Financial Reform and Public Citizen sits in costume behind Richard Smith, former chairman and chief executive officer of Equifax Inc., right, before a Senate Banking Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017. Lawmakers grilled Smith on Tuesday after hackers attacked the company's systems and got access to sensitive information for 145.5 million Americans. Photographer

Image credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Americans for Financial Reform (AFR) and Public Citizen fought an attack on the new Consumer Bureau’s forced arbitration rule by delivering mock “Get-Out-of-Jail-Free” cards to the Senate, prior to the hearings with the former Equifax CEO.

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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)’s forced arbitration rule allows consumers to join together in class actions to challenge wrongdoing in court. Widespread wrongdoing and negligence at Equifax and Wells Fargo, and their attempts to evade legal accountability using forced arbitration “rip-off” clauses, have made it clear how important the CFPB’s new rule is. Unfortunately, the Senate has introduced S.J. Res 47 to block the Bureau’s rule. Americans for Financial Reform has a petition to the Senate, calling on them to reject the resolution.

To protest S.J. Res 47, Amanda Werner of AFR and Public Citizen appeared at Wednesday morning’s U.S. Senate Banking Committee hearing on Equifax dressed as the billionaire Monopoly Man, and sat behind former CEO of Equifax Richard Smith as he gave testimony to the Senate Banking Committee.

Amanda Werner’s protest even made the Today Show!

TYT Politics interviewed Werner following the hearing, where she explained her protest to defend the CFPB’s rule and deny Equifax a “Get-Out-of-Jail-Free” card:

Senate leadership is pushing to roll back the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s arbitration rule using the Congressional Review Act’s expedited process and has until early November to act.

Forced arbitration clauses buried in the fine print of take-it-or-leave-it contracts may be the single most important tool that predatory banks, payday lenders, credit card companies and other financial institutions have used to escape accountability for cheating and defrauding consumers. These clauses push disputes into secretive arbitration proceedings rigged to favor financial companies and conceal wrongdoing from regulatory authorities. The average consumer forced into arbitration ends up paying more than $7,700 to the bank or lender, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Amanda Werner’s presence in the Senate Banking Committee’s Equifax hearing was covered extensively in the press. Here is a sampling of the coverage:

The Monopoly Man even managed to follow ex-Equifax CEO Richard Smith to the elevators on his way out, furnishing a bag bursting with money: