With tax day right around the corner, the last thing you should have to worry about is the safety of your sensitive personal and financial information. Yet, this Thursday, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen will appear before a key House panel amid growing concerns that his agency is woefully unprepared to protect taxpayer data from cyberattacks.
The hearing follows a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that highlights severe cybersecurity vulnerabilities at the IRS, which could expose taxpayer’s most sensitive data to hackers. Speaker Ryan called on the agency to immediately implement 43 GAO recommendations to strengthen security in light of this report.
As The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review editorial board recently explained:
“IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, who says the agency's systems are sound, hasn't indicated what steps will be taken to address the GAO's latest findings. At the same time, he pointed out the agency's 'human capital resource limitations.' But changing passwords and limiting staff access to taxpayers' personal information are matters of common sense, not cash flow. It's past time for the IRS to exercise more of the former to secure its data and reclaim its credibility.”
Americans are rightfully skeptical of an agency that has systematically abused its power to target political opponents while routinely blaming insufficient funding for its own negligence. We’re sick and tired of these excuses. House Republicans already enacted seven new laws this year alone to rein in the IRS and hold its employees accountable, but more work is needed to protect hardworking taxpayers.
Just this weekend, House Republicans racked up a trifecta of major oversight breakthroughs on executive overreach, Benghazi, and Fast and Furious. This demonstrates the power of effective oversight, which is needed for the IRS perhaps more than any other federal agency.
Commissioner Koskinen will appear before the Science, Space, and Technology’s Subcommittee on Research and Technology alongside Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration Russell George, and GAO Director of Information Security Issues Gregory Wilshusen. You can watch Thursday’s hearing starting at 10am ET at science.house.gov.