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For years and much to their frustration, big banks have paid hundreds of millions of dollars to a tiny Texas company to use a patented system for processing digital copies of checks, making Claudio Ballard, the inventor of the system, a wealthy man and the bank industry’s biggest patent foe.
After years of fighting Mr. Ballard at the federal Patent Office, in court and across a negotiating table, the banks went to see one of their best friends in Congress, Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, who inserted into a patent overhaul bill a provision that appears largely aimed at helping banks rid themselves of the Ballard problem. The Senate passed the bill easily in March.
Charles Ellis "Chuck" Schumer (pronounced /ˈʃuːmər/, born November 23, 1950) is the senior United States Senator from New York and a member of the Democratic Party. First elected in 1998, he defeated three-term Republican incumbent Al D'Amato by a margin of 55%–44%. He was easily re-elected in 2004 by a margin of 71%–24% and in 2010 by a margin of 66%–33%.
Before his election to the U.S. Senate, Schumer served in the United States House of Representatives from 1981 to 1999. He represented New York's 16th congressional district, which was later redistricted to the 10th congressional district in 1983 and to the 9th congressional district in 1993. A native of Brooklyn and graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, he was a three-term member of the New York State Assembly, serving from 1975 to 1980.
Schumer was chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee from 2005 to 2009, in which post he oversaw a total of 14 Democratic gains in the Senate in the 2006 and 2008 elections. Elected Vice Chairman of the Democratic Caucus in the Senate, in 2006, he is the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, behind Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin. In November 2010, he was also chosen to hold the additional role of chairman of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee starting at the opening of the 112th Congress.
"Porky" Amendments Incident
While debating the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Schumer drew criticism when he asserted that Americans did not care that 'porky' amendments had been inserted into the bill. Said Schumer, "And let me say this to all the chattering classes that so much focus on those little, tiny, yes porky amendments. The American people really don’t care."
 Controversial Statements over Gaza
Schumer, speaking at an Orthodox Union event in Washington, DC, in June 2010, made comments that were later criticized  regarding Israel's military blockade of the Gaza Strip. He called on Israel to "strangle them economically until they see that's not the way to go". He also said "they don't believe in the Torah, in David." He explained that the current Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip is not only justified because it keeps weapons out of the Palestinian territory, but also because it shows the Palestinians living there that "when there's some moderation and cooperation, they can have an economic advancement."
 Flight attendant incident
After being asked by a flight attendant to turn off his cell phone during take-off of a US Airways flight from New York to Washington D.C. on December 13, 2009, Schumer called the flight attendant a "bitch." Schumer made the comment to fellow New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who was seated next to him, but was overheard by a Republican House aide who happened to be on the plane. After the story was reported on Politico.com, Schumer issued an apology through a spokesperson for the "off-the-cuff comment".
While discussing an immigration bill on the U.S. Senate floor, New York Democrat Charles Schumer likened Indian tech giant Infosys Technologies to a chop shop. When his statement set off a wave of outrage in India, the senator acknowledged his characterization was incorrect. The remark was also criticized by the United States-India Business Council. Ron Somers, head of the USIBC, said that the remark was "outrageous in this day in age, when the world is so interconnected by the Internet, that draconian measures would be floated by the U.S. Congress that tar-brushes Indian companies as ‘chop shops'.”"
 Bicycle Safety
Schumer is noted for his love of bicycling around his home town of Brooklyn, New York. However, in 2011 he was reported to have joined with a group of residents of his street in Park Slope, Brooklyn to have successful street safety improvements removed from the street in front of his home. While Schumer has not taken a public position on the traffic-calming project, whose most prominent feature is a two-way protected bike path, his wife, Iris Weinshall, is a prominent advocate against the street safety improvements, and the New York Post reported that Schumer himself has lobbied behind the scenes against the bike path. In addition, a major Schumer campaign contributor has fought a controversial pro bono legal battle against the safety project, drawing criticism.
 Controversy Surrounding Shuttle
In mid April of 2011 Schumer made comments to the New York Daily News that directly insulted the state of Texas for its desire to have one of the retiring space shuttles added to the NASA Johnson Space Center. He cited it being more appropriate for the shuttle to be placed in New York City than the NASA Johnson Space Center. Schumer said the following, “I’ve heard that Houston is making a big pitch to get NASA to reverse itself. Well let me say to Houston what we say in Brooklyn: forget about it. They are not getting the shuttle, uh, Houston may want it but we have it, we’re fighting for it, and we’re gonna to keep it. And I say to the people in Houston when people all around the world in London and Tokyo and Paris and Buenos Aires say, “”gee I can’t wait for my trip to Houston”” then you can have a shuttle. Until then its staying in New York because New York is where it belongs. More people will see the shuttle in New York than in anywhere else. We are the world’s capital for tourism and uh this is where the shuttle belongs at. The bottom line, again, to Houston you better give up the fight cause we’re keeping the shuttle and you don’t mess with New York" As a result of his comments, local Houston politician and radio personality Michael Berry organized a Texas-wide boycott of New York companies as well as a phone campaign that shut down the phones at Senator Schumer's office. The New York Chamber of Commerce was also targeted in the phone campaign. The boycott is to remain in place until Schumer offers an official apology.
DataTreasury, located in Plano, Texas, United States, develops, acquires and licenses technology for secure check image capture and storage. The company has a patent portfolio relating to these technologies which it is has been enforcing since 2002 through several patent infringement lawsuits directed at numerous banks it alleges are infringing the patents. Several banks have settled.
Claudio Ballard founded DataTreasury in 1998 to market technology that processes electronic checks and other documents and related payment-processing tools utilizing patents prosecuted and filed prior to DataTreasury's founding, and then assigned to it by Ballard's holding company, CSP Holdings LLC.
The company now has about 1000 shareholders and has generated over $350 mm in licensing revenue in the past four years.[when?] Ballard is now[when?] only a small percentage shareholder and the company has only two employees.
In 2006, DataTreasury sued dozens of financial institutions, many of which have settled with the company.
On March 26, 2010, a jury provided DataTreasury Corp.'s first courtroom victory over U.S. Bancorp. The jury found that U.S. Bancorp had infringed on DataTreasury patents.
IndyMac Bancorp, Inc. (IMB: 0.00 N/A) felt the pain of a mini bank run this past week, thanks to a leaked letter from New York Senator Charles Schumer that questioned the bank's solvency and led to widespread press coverage last week, the Pasadena-based thrift said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission late Monday.
"As a result of Sen. Schumer making his letters public and the resulting press coverage, we did experience elevated customer inquiries and withdrawals in our branch network last Friday and on Saturday of roughly $100 million, about ½ of 1% of total deposits," the bank said.
Sen. Charles Schumer said Sunday the Bush administration is trying to "blame the fire on the person who calls 911" by suggesting he had a role in one of the costliest U.S. bank failures.
Federal regulators with the Office of Thrift Supervision were "asleep at the switch" when it came to IndyMac's "reckless" behavior, the New York Democrat complained.
The OTS pointed the finger directly at Schumer for the failure, accusing him of sparking a bank run by releasing a letter that "expressed concerns about IndyMac's viability."
"In the following 11 business days, depositors withdrew more than $1.3 billion from their accounts," the OTS said in a statement announcing the California-based lender's takeover on Friday.
The statement included a quote from OTS Director John Reich saying, "Although this institution was already in distress, I am troubled by any interference in the regulatory process."
Schumer, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, chairman of Congress' Joint Economic Committee and the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, rejected any suggestions of responsibility for IndyMac's collapse
The Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) is a United States federal agency under the Department of the Treasury. It was created in 1989 as a renamed version of another federal agency (that was faulted for its role in the Savings and loan crisis). Like other US federal bank regulators, it is paid by the banks it regulates. The OTS was initially seen as an aggressive regulator, but was later lax. Declining revenues and staff led the OTS to market itself to companies as a lax regulator in order to get revenue.
The OTS also expanded its oversight to companies that were not banks. Some of the companies that failed under OTS supervision during the Financial crisis of 2007–2010 include American International Group (AIG), Washington Mutual, and IndyMac.
The OTS was implicated in a backdating scandal regarding the balance sheet of IndyMac. Reform proposals from Henry Paulson, Barack Obama, and the U.S. Congress have all proposed to merge the OTS with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.