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Letter presses Schumer about credit reports


After news that Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee researchers reviewed Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele's credit report, five GOP senators yesterday asked for assurances from that group's head, Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York, that committee staffers hadn't accessed their personal credit information.

A spokesman for the group, which helps Democratic senatorial candidates nationwide, said last week that the researchers had not obtained any other credit reports.

But the Republican senators, all of whom face re-election next year, wrote that "the security of our families' finances is too important to rely on the assurances of professional political staff and consultants whose primary focus is defeating us next November."

The letter was signed by Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, John Ensign of Nevada, Trent Lott of Mississippi, Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Olympia J. Snowe of Maine.

Schumer wrote in response yesterday that "this was a single incident and no other Senator or candidate's credit report was accessed." He said the same thing last week in a letter to an attorney for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Both groups help Senate candidates from their parties nationwide.

The U.S. attorney's office in Washington is investigating the incident involving Steele. Last week, the Democratic committee apologized and said the two staff members who were responsible had resigned.

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