Today, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen will face House lawmakers for the first time since an independent watchdog uncovered his agency’s continued failure to protect taxpayer data from hackers. Stream the hearing live starting at 10 a.m. ET at science.house.gov.
We won’t be there asking the questions, but here are three we think Commissioner Koskinen needs to answer:
1. I’d like to read you a quote from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), which says it “continues to identify significant security weaknesses that could affect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of financial and sensitive taxpayer data.” The American people have no choice but to send the IRS their data, even though we know you are not doing enough to secure that data. Can you, right now, assure American taxpayers that their data is 100 percent secure? And if not, why not?
2. The GAO recently offered your agency 43 separate recommendations to help protect taxpayers from hackers. We called on you to immediately adopt these reforms. You said you would get back to us. When? What is the holdup? Why not pledge to do these things now?
3. Often we hear these problems attributed to budgetary concerns. In recent years, however, this Congress boosted your resources for cybersecurity to prevent problems like these. What did you do with the funding? Here’s a headline: “IRS CYBERSECURITY STAFF WAS CUT AS BUDGET ROSE.” Why did the agency slash its cybersecurity staff despite receiving additional resources?
Year after year, we’ve heard the same excuses from the IRS. Now we want to see results. Commissioner Koskinen needs to prove to Congress and the American people that cybersecurity is a top priority for his agency.