IRS exposed thousands of Social Security numbers on websites, organization says

CINCINNATI -- The Internal Revenue Service is under fire again, this time for exposing the Social Security numbers of tens of thousands of Americans last week on government websites, according to an audit from Public.Resource.org.

Public Resource, an independent transparency group, reports the exposed numbers came from nonprofit political groups known as 527s, which have to file taxes with the IRS that wind up in an agency database. These Section 527 political organizations are often campaign committees.

"This Section 527 database is an essential tool used by journalists, watchdog groups, congressional staffers, and citizens. While the public posting of this database serves a vital public purpose (and this database must be restored as quickly as possible), the failure to remove individual Social Security Numbers is an extraordinarily reckless act," the report states.

After receiving a tip, Public Resource did some digging, and found that the IRS forgot to redact the tens of thousands of Social Security numbers; When the group notified the IRS of its mistake on July 2, the database was taken down immediately.

The IRS has since responded, and said the agency is "assessing the situation and exploring available options," according to a report from the National Journal.

To read the full report from Public.Resource.org, click here: http://bit.ly/16gZiyr

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