NEW YORK – Congressman Tom Reed’s (R-Corning, NY 23) connection to a medical billing collections agency has gained the attention of the candidate running to be New York State’s next Attorney General.
A recent report by the Intercept explains how more than a dozen consumers, including some who live in the 23rd congressional district, have filed complaints with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) about RR Resource Recovery, a collections firm that Reed found and is now owned by his wife but is still listed as a source of income by Reed in his financial disclosure report. The firm also lists Tom Reed’s brother as the registration agent.
Several of the complaints claim the firm harassed them for medical debt they never incurred or had already resolved.
The article also notes how Reed has participated in several Republican-led attempts to defund and unravel the CFPB – the firm that collects consumer complaints, including those involving Reed’s company.
Reed has also gone on record as opposing a Single Payer Healthcare system, saying it would cost too much money to rollout. But his opponent in this year’s election, Tracy Mitrano, along with others have questioned if his opposition is really a conflict of interest with his family’s business.
In response to questions regarding the possible conflict of interest between the collections firm and position on healthcare legislation, Reed has said that he has no nefarious motive for fighting single-payer-healthcare. He simply does not feel the government shouldn’t be involved and instead wants to focus on fixing the current system and making insurance more affordable all Americans. He’s also said that criticism focusing on his wife’s business involvement with a collection agency is a personal attack on his family, adding that his wife shouldn’t be criticized for independently running her own business.
The Democrat running to be New York’s Next Attorney General – Letitia “Tish” James of New York City – released a statement in response to the story.
“Talk about low,” James begin her statement. “In communities across our state, New Yorkers’ financial security is threatened by mountains of medical debt — and it is despicable that one of their own congressional representatives may be profiting off their vulnerabilities. Elected officials are supposed to help their constituents, not harass and deceive them.”
“Right now, President Trump and Republicans in Congress — including Tom Reed — are trying to roll back federal consumer protections. That’s why it’s so important New Yorkers elect an Attorney General who will protect their rights. When I take office, I will be focused on standing up to firms that engage in predatory practices, harass New Yorkers, or deceive our neighbors. No one is above the law.”
Meanwhile Mitrano issued her own statement on the story.
“I do not want to speculate on what is still a developing story,” Mitrano said. “I will say, however, that these allegations are concerning and the people of NY-23 deserve to know how their member of Congress has made his money. Affordable healthcare has long been a point of divergence between my opponent and myself. Congressman Reed has made no bones about it—he approaches healthcare from the lens of profits, whereas I view it as a vital responsibility of government to ensure that every person has access to affordable health care. One unexpected health crisis should not bankrupt a family.”
“Tom is not involved in this business,” said Reed campaign spokesperson Abbey Daugherty in a statement sent to WRFA on Friday. “This is a last minute and offensive sexist political attack on Tom’s wife from a desperate candidate.”