Dems demand answers from DOR chief

Several Democratic lawmakers sent this letter to the head of the Department of Revenue today:

October 29, 2012

Mr. James Etter

South Carolina Department of Revenue

301 Gervais Street

Columbia, S.C. 29214

Dear Mr. Etter,

As you know, many citizens of our state have questions about the recent breach of security at the SC Department of Revenue.  We are among them.  As elected representatives of the people of South Carolina, we are very concerned for the safety of their identities.  There remain important questions, which have not been answered.  South Carolina must ensure that the nature of this breach is fully understood and corrective measures are taken.  To that end, we ask you to answer all of the questions.  Please advise if you cannot complete by this Wednesday at noon.

Do we know that data was actually transferred out of the system or was the system simply breached?

What types of data were compromised- the full tax return? Social security numbers? addresses? charitable contributions? W2 information? or other information?

Why were any credit card numbers kept in an unencrypted format?

To what degree was the breach the result of poor procedural, security control versus human error?

Why was this data kept in a way that was accessible to the internet?

What security audits were performed on these systems during the past two years?

Have children’s SSNs also been compromised and what steps should parents take to ensure that their IDs are protected?

What is the state willing to do beyond the year of (free) ID protection to protect the IDs of children, vulnerable adults and others who have been compromised and may not be able to afford ID protection after the year expires?

Please provide us with a copy of SCDOR’s information security standards and policy.

Please describe the time line of when and how SCDOR learned about the breach, steps that were taken, and when any other entities were notified of the breach?

Please explain how much time passed between the time SCDOR was notified of the breach and the time the public was notified?

Please provide an estimate of how much money the state will expend to deal with this breach and its aftermath?

Thanks so much for your prompt attention to this matter.

Very truly,

Senator Brad Hutto

Senator Vincent Sheheen

Representative James Smith

Representative Mia Butler Garrick

Cc. The Honorable Nikki Haley

Note the “cc” to the governor. Nice touch, huh?

9 thoughts on “Dems demand answers from DOR chief

  1. Steven Davis II

    I love how politicians gang together to call for heads. Someone needs to be held responsible, but these morons think in mob mentality… before something happens they don’t even know what the department does, once an event happens they want to go on record as demanding answers.

  2. j

    “A word to the wise is normally deficient!” “Haley: Security breach could cost state more than $12 million”

    Ask her what’d she do with the DHS fed money that was supposed to go to securing state computer systems.

  3. Kathryn Fenner

    It seems to me that the Democrats are asking for more specific, useful information, not for “heads” or brutalizing or other violence.

  4. Brad

    Speaking of which… y’all should go check out my latest post, about NJ Gov. Chris Christie’s effusive praise of President Obama for his response to the Sandy disaster.

    From the perspective of South Carolina, it’s a little hard to imagine having a governor who cares more about looking after the needs of his state than he does about national partisan politics…

  5. Juan Caruso

    The above letter sent to the head of the Department of Revenue today is bound to haunt SC Democrats.

    Only if Dick Harpootlian had signed it could the letter have been more transparently partisan.

    “Haley: Security breach could cost state more than $12 million” Yes,
    all of the letter’s sigmees are JDs (lawyers).

    Years after 26.5 million Social Security numbers for active duty troops and veterans on a hard drive and laptop in the custody of a Veterans Affairs data analyst disappeared (2006), a class action suit cost taxpayers $20 Million over and above the 30% lawyer fee (another $6.5 Million down the drain).

    The symbolic payoff may have made millionaires of more lawyers, but it averaged a mere 75 cents for the 26.5 million vets.

    Applying the same math to SC taxpayers, we can expect a few SC lawyers (Sheheen’s lawyer-political network) to reap
    at least $800,000 in legal fees to benefit some taxpayers at the expense of all.

    Don’t believe my forecast, or can’t see harpootlian’s fingerprints? Just wait.

  6. Silence

    Brad – I noticed you used the pronoun “he” in your comment. Are you implying that a female governor can’t be compassionate woman who looks after the needs of her state, or are you simply expressing that you prefer a male governor to a female one?


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