Government watchdogs reject Equifax appeal on IRS contract


Government watchdogs have rejected an Equifax appeal of last week’s decision by the IRS to take away a $7.25 million contract from the embattled Atlanta company.

According to a report in Politico, the Government Accountability Office on Monday denied a protest filed by Equifax, which had hoped to hold on to a contract to provide help to the Internal Revenue Service.

That contract was to provide assistance in preventing identity theft. Announcement of the contract came – somewhat awkwardly – the same week as testimony before Congress concerning a massive data breach suffered by Equifax.

The IRS, which had been roundly criticized for awarding the contract to Equifax, last week announced it was taking the contract away from the company.

The GAO conducted a review and concluded that the IRS was justified in shifting the one-year agreement to Experian, Politico reported.

Equifax, which in September had admitted that data for 145 million Americans had been stolen from its system, argued to the GAO that Experian did not have the skills to provide the IRS with security advice.

The deal with Experian, however, is worth less than $1 million, Politico said. That is much smaller than the payment would have been to Equifax and Politico said the government did not explain the contrast in amounts.

And while contract amount was modest compared to Equifax’ $3.4 billion-a-year business, it was a black eye for the company’s already-bruised corporate image.

There was other bad news last week, including reports that the huge Equifax breach included data on 10.9 million driver’s licenses.

Two days after that came word that an Equifax customer service site the target of an attempted hack. The company took it down and said that the manipulation of its web page was done via a “third party.”

On Friday, the IRS suspended the $7.25 million Equifax contract, citing ‘new information — an apparent reference to the previous manipulation.

MYAJC.COM: REAL JOURNALISM. REAL LOCAL IMPACT.

AJC Business reporter Michael E. Kanell keeps you updated on the latest news about jobs, housing and consumer issues in metro Atlanta and beyond. You'll find more on myAJC.com, including these stories:

Never miss a minute of what's happening in local business news. Subscribe to myAJC.com. 



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

Airlines expect record number of summer travelers
Airlines expect record number of summer travelers

A record 246.1 million passengers are expected to travel on U.S. airlines this summer, according to an industry group. Lobbying group Airlines for America said that’s the number of passengers expected on U.S. airline flights from June through August, up 3.7 percent from last year. The volume of traffic expected amounts to an average of 2.68 million...
Wes Moss: What you need to remember when navigating choppy markets
Wes Moss: What you need to remember when navigating choppy markets

I recently got a question from a listener to my radio show that I believe is relevant to just about every investor out there. For the sake of this article, we’ll call her Debbie. Debbie is retired and in her early 60s. For years, she kept a significant portion of her retirement savings in cash, waiting to put it to work when the time was right...
Atlanta ranks 10th in population increase, U.S. Census Bureau reports
Atlanta ranks 10th in population increase, U.S. Census Bureau reports

Among the U.S. cities with the biggest jump in population, Atlanta ranked 10th last year, according to a newly released report by the U.S. Census Bureau. The city saw an influx of 13,323 new residents between July 2016 and July 2017, translating to about 36 people moving in each day. Nationally, at the top of the list, San Antonio registered the largest...
New bank law spurs both support and criticism in Georgia
New bank law spurs both support and criticism in Georgia

Some Georgia bankers joined U.S. Sen. David Perdue in praising this week’s rollback of the Dodd-Frank law’s restrictions on banks, although consumer groups criticized the measure. The new banking law, signed by President Trump on Thursday, loosens the restraints on banks that were put in place by the Dodd-Frank law after the financial...
Weak job growth in metro Atlanta last month
Weak job growth in metro Atlanta last month

Metro Atlanta saw weak job growth in April, although the unemployment rate dropped as thousands of people stopped looking for work, according to a report Thursday from the state department of labor. Although April is typically a strong month for hiring, the economy added just 8,100 jobs – less than half the average growth during the previous...
More Stories