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Target, Neiman Marcus will be no-shows at hearing on data breaches

Target, Neiman Marcus will be no-shows at hearing on data breaches
A customer signs for a credit card purchase at a Target store in Tallahassee, Fla., in 2008. Target says that about 40 million credit and debit card accounts customers may have been affected by a data breach that occurred at its U.S. stores between Nov. 27, 2013, and Dec. 15, 2013. The retailer, along with Neiman Marcus, will not appear at an Assembly hearing addressing the issue. (Phil Coale / Associated Press)

SACRAMENTO -- Two Assembly panels will convene next week to examine consumer data safety, but lawmakers won't be hearing from two companies that have been hit with recent high-profile security breaches.

Lawmakers invited representatives of Target and Neiman Marcus to testify at Tuesday's joint hearing of the Judiciary and Banking and Finance committees, after the retailers experienced massive security breaches that compromised millions of consumers' personal data.

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But the two companies declined to participate, said the legislators chairing the hearing.

Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) said the companies' decision not to appear "seems insensitive to the security of the data of Californians."

Wieckowski said that Target referred to Chief Financial Officer John Mulligan's testimony before a U.S. Senate panel earlier this month, and said they did not want to comment further on an on-going investigation.

Neither Target nor Neiman Marcus responded to requests for comment.

Assemblyman Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento) said he was disappointed and surprised that the companies turned down the invitation.

"I would think from the companies' perspective that the better strategy would be to try to be as open and forthcoming -- not just with the Legislature, but with the public -- as possible," Dickinson said.

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Tuesday's hearing will include testimony from major credit card companies, including MasterCard and Visa, retail groups and privacy advocates.

[For the Record, 4:49 p.m. Feb. 14: An earlier version of this post incorrectly gave Target Chief Financial Officer John Mulligan's name as John Mullian.]

Twitter: @melmason

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