JERSEY CITY - Sen. Robert Menendez wants the federal government to hold companies accountable when their customers' financial information is stolen.

The Democrat is taking on the topic after last week's revelation that personal information was stolen from nearly 40 million Target customers who used credit and debit cards at the store. Menendez says he wants to make sure retailers are "putting their customers ahead of profits."

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The Federal Trade Commission can police companies' security measures, but cannot impose penalties for negligence.

"It seems what we need is to have the ability to levy fines and penalties," Menendez said, adding that he may introduce legislation on the issue.

He also says he may hold hearings on the Target breach.

Target has not said how the security breach happened, but says it has fixed the problem and that it is conducting its own internal investigation.