IRS exposed Social Security numbers of tens of thousands of political donors

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013 @ 2:14AM

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July 9, 2013

The Internal Revenue Service inadvertently exposed the Social Security numbers of tens of thousands of individuals online who donated money to tax-exempt organizations involved in political activities.

For reasons of political transparency, the IRS posts information filed by the organizations, which are required to report their contributors and expenditures to the IRS. The nonprofit groups are called “527s” (named for Section 527 of the tax code that gives the groups tax-exempt status). Donors are supposed to be listed, but additional personal information, such as Social Security numbers, is not. Nevertheless, this occurred in numerous instances.

“When we were alerted last week that a substantial number of Social Security numbers were posted on in forms filed by section 527 political organizations, the IRS decided out of an abundance of caution to temporarily remove public Web access to the records,” the IRS said.

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