State approves bidding for taxpayer credit monitoring
COLUMBIA — A state board has given permission for South Carolina to seek a contract to continue credit monitoring for five years for taxpayers whose personal data was stolen in a massive hacking incident last year.
The South Carolina Budget and Control Board met for less than three minutes Tuesday before unanimously agreeing to put out a proposal for bids for the contract. The company that wins the contract will provide credit monitoring services after the one-year, $12 million no-bid deal that the state signed with Experian expires in October.
A separate board of government officials and people in private business will consider bids to continue the monitoring for five years with an option to reconsider after each year.
About 1.4 million people signed up for the monitoring. About 6.4 million taxpayers and businesses had their data, such as Social Security and bank account numbers, stolen in the hacking of computers at the Department of Revenue last year.
The General Assembly set aside $10 million for the new deal and $15 million to improve cyber-security in state agencies.
Gov. Nikki Haley, one of the five members of the board, seemed surprised when no one said anything when she asked if there was any discussion about document outlining what bidders need to do.
“Didn’t expect that,” she said after the other four board members agreed with her and approved what is officially called a Request for Proposal.
The Budget and Control Board is made up of Haley, Treasurer Curtis Loftis, Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom, House Ways and Means Chairman Brian White and Senate Finance Chairman Hugh Leatherman. All five are Republicans, but they frequently clash over their administrative role. This board will not have any more input into the contract bids.
The Secret Service is investigating the hacking and hasn’t released any new information about the incident in several months. After the meeting, Haley again referred any questions about the hacking to the agency.
The governor praised the General Assembly for setting aside money to help with the hacking. She also praised Experian for its credit monitoring service. The five-year contract should provide similar services.
“They reacted quickly, they reacted promptly and they did a good service,” Haley said of Experian. “Having said that, I think it is good we are looking at many different companies to see how we can get the most for our dollars.”