Senators worried about IRS contracts

Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley joins a group of eight senators who demand scrutiny of the IRS‘s decision to contract with the recently breeched Equifax.

The IRS awarded a no-bid contract of $7.25 million dollars to verify taxpayer identities, and assist in preventing tax fraud.

Equifax has been in the news recently for a security breach which left the personal information of 145 million people exposed.

“By awarding this no-bid contract, the Internal Revenue Service is paying Equifax $7.25 million in taxpayer money to protect the very same taxpayers from an identity theft risk that Equifax helped create,” the group of senators wrote to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “The decision to award this contract to protect the identities of taxpayers and the integrity of federal tax dollars in light of Equifax’s recent and severe breach of the public trust is highly concerning.”

The Equifax security breech was announced by the company on Sept. 7, 2017. The Sort of information left vulnerable included names, social security numbers, birth dates, and addresses.

Equifax is the sole-source that the IRS is using to complete the job.

Members of the senate who wrote to Koskinen had several questions about the contract including “What the timeframe for this sole-source contract and what is the scope of services covered under the contract award… How much has the IRS spent on taxpayer identification services each year in fiscal years 2013–2017?”

Aside from Merkley, the other senators who have taken up this cause are Gary Peters (D-MI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).