Report: IRS mistakenly exposed thousands of Social Security numbers

A few items that caught our attention on Monday:

(Mark Wilson/Getty Images) - A tea party rally at the U.S. Capitol on June 19.
(Mark Wilson/Getty Images) – A tea party rally at the U.S. Capitol on June 19.

IRS mistakenly exposed Social Security numbers: An audit from a watchdog group revealed that the agency had unwittingly posted more than 2,000 Social Security numbers online, affecting nonprofit groups known as 527s. The numbers appeared online for less than 24 hours, according to a report from the National Journal.

The IRS said in a statement to the Post on Monday that federal law requires the agency to publicly post certain forms from 527 organizations, and that it “frequently and routinely reminds organizations of the public disclosure of these forms and urges them not to include personal information, including Social Security numbers, in their public filings.”

The IRS also said it is “assessing the situation and exploring available options” after the release of the watchdog report.

A farmer who doesn’t want the government taking his raisins: A California farmer is fighting the government over a Truman-era program that takes farmers’ raisins — often without compensation — in order to manage the nation’s supply of the dried fruit. David Fahrenthold has the story in Monday’s Washington Post.

Obama wants government to act more like Silicon Valley: The president on Monday said he would take steps to remake the federal government in the image of a modern technology company. He has tapped White House budget director Sylvia Matthews-Burwell to help “develop an aggressive management agenda for my second term that delivers a smarter, more innovative and accountable government for its citizens,” according to a Post Politics article.

Republicans propose splitting the farm bill: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has proposed dividing the recently failed farm bill into two pieces of legislation: One dealing with nutrition programs — including food stamps — and another covering agricultural, forestry and conservation initiatives. Disagreements on spending levels for those programs caused the last unified bill to collapse last month. The National Journal has the story.

Sequester complicates budget talks: The sequester is snarling the 2014 budget process, with the House and Senate disagreeing over how to account for the automatic cuts in next year’s spending plans, according to a Federal News Radio article.

Secret decoder ring for stories about the next Fed chair: The Wall Street Journal and Financial Times tried to guess who would become the next chairman of the Federal Reserve, but the Washington Post’s Wonkblog suggests that may be a bit of a fool’s errand. The blog provides a guide to “the dark art of interpreting media coverage of the president’s selection of the next Fed chair.” Read the article from Wonkblog economics editor Neil Erwin.

Spurned nominees who later won elected office: Some presidential nominees rejected by the Senate later won seats in that chamber of Congress. The list includes Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), according to the a Government Executive article.

To connect with Josh Hicks, follow his Twitter feed, friend his Facebook page or e-mail josh.hicks@washpost.comFor more federal news, visit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics. E-mail federalworker@washpost.com with news tips and other suggestions.

Josh Hicks covers the federal government and anchors the Federal Eye blog. He reported for newspapers in the Detroit and Seattle suburbs before joining the Post as a contributor to Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker blog in 2011.
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Josh Hicks | July 8, 2013