IRS Removes Database Containing SSNs Of Individuals in Political Organization Filings

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By Diane Freda

The Internal Revenue Service posted the Social Security numbers of tens of thousands of U.S. citizens on government websites, and then took them down when a nonprofit that specializes in making documents public contacted government officials about the violation.

Public.Resource.Org told BNA July 9 that the database in question contains the filings of tax code Section 527 political organizations, such as campaign committees, and includes the SSNs of individual donors to those groups.

Public.Resource.Org is a nonprofit that specializes in posting public documents in the public domain for use by journalists, watchdog groups, congressional staffers, and average citizens.

Its founder, Carl Malamud, said he does not believe the release of individual numbers was politically motivated, but said he believes IRS has known for some time that SSNs are on the database and has not done anything to fix this problem.

“It's incompetence,” he said, adding that the posting “is an extraordinarily reckless act.”

The database was removed from public view July 3.


The Public.Resource.Org letter to IRS and TIGTA is in TaxCore.

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