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Senate subcommittee to examine S.C. security breach

Staff Report
Published Nov. 9, 2012

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Hugh Leatherman appointed a subcommittee to examine the security breach of personal information at the S.C. Department of Revenue.

The DOR has said the hacking resulted in the theft of sensitive information on millions of South Carolina taxpayers and businesses.

Leatherman appointed Sens. Kevin Bryant of Anderson and Billy O’Dell from Abbeville to co-chair the panel. Other members include Sens. John Matthews of Orangeburg and Darrell Jackson of Richland.

Leatherman said he created the oversight panel after a recent Finance Committee hearing questioned DOR Director James Etter about what went wrong and what he was doing to correct the problems to provide protection to taxpayers and businesses.

“I don’t think any senator was satisfied with the answers we got,” Leatherman said. “More questions were raised than answers were provided. Mr. Etter first told us he did not know if private information of companies was stolen. When members pressed him, however, and after he checked with his staff, he admitted that corporations with state identification numbers had been breached.”

Leatherman said Finance Committee members also are concerned about the process DOR established to provide protection to taxpayers.

“Some of our members are asking why the state is putting the burden on taxpayers to go through cumbersome procedures to sign up for coverage when DOR — not the taxpayers — made the tragic mistake,” he said. “There is concern that tens of thousands of people — especially the elderly — will not be able to do this. We were told that privacy restrictions prevent the state from being able to take out a blanket policy. That might be correct, but we want to look at that.”

Sen. President Pro Tem John Courson said the Finance Committee is the appropriate Senate committee to launch the inquiry.

“The Finance Committee has the responsibility to vet the governor’s nominee for director of the Department of Revenue and has jurisdiction over its budget. I concur with Sen. Leatherman’s decision to appoint a special subcommittee to examine the hacking crisis,” he said.

The Department of Revenue has set up a website to help potential hacking victims monitor their credit history. Enter the activation code “SCDOR123” to sign up.

Previous coverage

Cyberattack affects at least 657,000 South Carolina businesses
Cyberattack puts IDs of 3.6M South Carolinians at risk
Revenue Department ‘not sure’ if hacker compromised business accounts