House committee wants to know why IRS signed contract with Equifax after data breach

Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee are questioning why the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) signed a $7.25 million contract with Equifax just weeks after it was revealed that the credit reporting agency had a massive data breach.

“It has come to our attention that the [IRS] awarded a no-bid contract for ‘third party data services from Equifax to verify taxpayer identity and to assist in ongoing identity verification and validations needs’ of the IRS,” committee leaders wrote in a letter to the IRS. “The timing and nature of this IRS contract raises red flags given the recent breach at Equifax. The contract was finalized nearly a month after Equifax disclosed a massive data breach of sensitive personal information.”

The letter was signed by E&C committee chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), ranking member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection (DCCP) Chairman Bob Latta (R-OH), subcommittee ranking member Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and the full bipartisan group of #SubDCCP members.

Last month, Equifax revealed that the personal information of over 145 million Americans was compromised, including names, addresses, social security numbers, credit card numbers, and driver’s license information. Equifax CEO Richard Smith resigned in the wake of the scandal.

The lawmakers said they have concerns about the finalization of the contract, given what is now known about Equifax. They requested answers from the IRS on a series of questions.