Dems Demand Answers from Haley on Hacking Incident

Several lawmakers call for independent audit, etc.

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By Monique Williams

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) -- Democratic legislators are calling for three things in the wake of a statewide hacking debacle: an independent investigation; tax credits for citizens possibly damaged in the scandal; and reimbursement to those whose assets are stolen as a result of the data that was compromised.

"The mother of all dysfunction in state government."

That's what state Senator Vincent Sheheen and state Representative James Smith, both democrats, are calling south carolina's hacking incident that exposed nearly all residents' personal tax information back in August.

"When it happened, we were immediately told it was just one of those things that happens and that nothing could've been done to avoid it. Anyone with a mind knows that wasn't true," said Sheheen on the second floor of the State House Thursday morning.

They harshly criticized Governor Nikki Haley's ignorance of pre-existing security flaws and her subsequent handling of the security breach in the weeks that followed. Lawmakers presented documents they say prove the South Carolina Department of Revenue, where 3.9 million taxpayers' personal information was compromised, refused to utilize free data breach monitoring prior to the breach and that the purchase of a $25,000 piece of computer equipment could have prevented the whole thing.

"It was such an utter failure of providing very basic minimum protection to people of our state," said Smith.

A spokesperson for the governor issued the following response to the lawmakers' demands:

“While Sen. Vince Sheheen once again played the role of political opportunist this morning, the governor was in Cheraw announcing Schaeffler’s $40 million investment in our state and 190 more jobs for South Carolinians. Throughout Sen. Sheheen’s long career as a political insider, he has never uttered the word ‘cyber-security’ until this hacking incident occurred. We’re used to Sen. Sheheen’s lame attempts at political grandstanding. As Sen. Sheheen grandstands Gov. Haley will continue her diligent daily efforts to make sure every South Carolinian is protected and to prevent further attacks. Any time Sen. Sheheen and Columbia Democrats have a constructive idea for how to help, she’s ready to listen. Gov. Haley looks forward to working with the General Assembly on ways to further protect and compensate affected taxpayers. As for an independent audit, there has already been one, at the governor's request, but she has no objection to a second one.”

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