Sen. Sheheen ridicules state's handling of DOR hacking

State Senator Vincent Sheheen and Rep. James Smith held a press conference Thursday calling for an independent investigative audit of the State Dept. of Revenue.

COLUMBIA (WACH / AP) -- Two local politicians are making new proposals to find out why nearly four million South Carolina tax payer files were accessed by an international hacker and to make sure it never happens again.

State Senator Vincent Sheheen and Rep. James Smith held a press conference Thursday calling for an independent investigative audit of the State Deptartment of Revenue. Charleston Rep. Leon Stavrinakis made the same call during a North Charleston news conference.

Smith says a criminal investigation by the State Law Enforcement Division is not enough -- that an audit of the state's shortcomings needs to happen as well, and that it needs to come from an unbiased source.

Sheheen presented the request from five legislators asking that the Legislative Audit Council conduct the investigation.

Sheheen also proposed a bill that would give South Carolinians a tax credit for the cost of obtaining the credit protection necessary after the state was hacked.

"This administration has allowed a tax to be placed on every single one of us in South Carolina for the rest of our lives -- man, woman and child -- a tax that requires us to monitor our own personal information to try to keep our identities and our information from being stolen for the remainder of our lives, and that is just not right," said Sheheen.

Sheheen also proposed adding a state fund that would reimburse every citizen in South Carolina who suffers a financial loss from the hack.

Smith says he plans to introduce legislation that would set a standard of protection for taxpayer information that every state government agency must follow.

Stavrinakis says the investigation should not be left to a firm chosen by Gov. Nikki Haley.

Haley's spokesman Rob Godfrey says there already has been an independent audit but Haley has no objection to a second one.

Quote from Rob Godfrey, Haley spokesman, on the news conference:

â??While Sen. Vince Sheheen once again played the role of political opportunist this morning, the governor was in Cheraw announcing Schaefflerâ??s $40 million investment in our state and 190 more jobs for South Carolinians. Throughout Sen. Sheheenâ??s long career as a political insider, he has never uttered the word â??cyber-securityâ?? until this hacking incident occurred. Weâ??re used to Sen. Sheheenâ??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, sheâ??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.â??

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)