Hundreds of US lawmakers and staff affected by data breach

Mar 9, 2023, 5:00 AM | Updated: 12:45 pm
Hundreds of US House members and staff had their personally identifiable information stolen in a br...
Hundreds of US House members and staff had their personally identifiable information stolen in a breach of a DC health care insurance service, the House chief administrative officer told lawmakers on March 8 in a letter obtained by CNN. Photo credit: Mary F. Calvert/Reuters

(CNN) — Hundreds of US House members and staff had their personally identifiable information stolen in a breach of a DC health care insurance service, the House chief administrative officer told lawmakers Wednesday in a letter obtained by CNN.

The FBI is investigating the “significant data breach,” which occurred Tuesday and potentially involved thousands of enrollees in the DC Health Link marketplace, House Chief Administrative Officer Catherine Szpindor told lawmakers in the letter.

“It is important to note that at this time, it does not appear that Members or the House of Representatives were the specific target of the attack,” Szpindor wrote.

DC Health Link confirmed in a statement that “data for some DC Health Link customers has been exposed on a public forum.”

“We have initiated a comprehensive investigation and are working with forensic investigators and law enforcement. Concurrently, we are taking action to ensure the security and privacy of our users’ personal information,” the statement said, adding that DC Health Link will provide identity and credit monitoring services for impacted customers as well as credit monitoring services for all of its customers “out of an abundance of caution.”

The FBI said in a statement Wednesday that it is “aware of this incident and is assisting. As this is an ongoing investigation, we do not have any additional information to provide at this time.”

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told CNN that the breach, which was first reported by Punchbowl News, is a “real concern.”

“Leader Hakeem Jeffries and I sent a letter to the DC Health about the concern we have here,” the California Republican said, noting that he does not know how many members may have been affected.

On a popular cybercrime forum this week, someone claimed to have sold the data belonging to DC Health Link. The advertisement for the stolen data, which CNN reviewed, claimed the leak affected 170,000 people and included Social Security numbers.

CNN was unable to independently verify those claims. The user advertising the data did not immediately respond Wednesday night when CNN asked in an online chat how much they sold the data for.

The advertisement was removed from the cybercrime forum later Wednesday night. It was not immediately clear why.

The user has been on the cybercrime forum for months and earned a reputation for selling compromised databases, Michael DeBolt, chief intelligence officer at security firm Intel471, told CNN.

“Like other financially motivated actors, (this actor) is opportunistic rather than seeking to target specific regions or sectors,” DeBolt said.

Contractors that store data belonging to US lawmakers could face greater scrutiny following this week’s breach.

The Committee on House Administration Republicans tweeted that Chairman Bryan Steil “is aware of the breach” and is working with Szpindor, the House chief administrative officer, “to ensure the vendor takes necessary steps to protect the (personally identifiable information) of any impacted member, staff, and their families.”

The top Democrat on the panel, Rep. Joe Morelle of New York, told CNN the data breach is “egregious” and that the FBI discovered it because the information ended up on the “dark web.”

He said in addition to investigating what happened, Congress needs to figure out how to allocate more resources so those who contract with the government can better protect this type of information.

“We are deeply concerned about DC Health Link’s data breach and the impact on our Members and staff. We will continue to communicate any updates we receive from law enforcement to impacted Members and staff,” a CAO spokesperson said in a statement.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories


FILE - President Joe Biden speaks about health care and prescription drug costs at the University o...
Jeremy Diamond, CNN

White House to disband Covid-19 response team in May

(CNN) — The White House will disband its coronavirus response team after the Covid-19 public health emergency ends in May, a current and former official said. The team, led most recently by Dr. Ashish Jha, has begun to dwindle in recent months as the administration has started to shift its response to the virus from […]
14 hours ago
Former President Donald Trump (left) and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are pictured here in a split ima...
Steve Contorno, CNN

With Trump facing legal peril, DeSantis steps out and sharpens attacks

(CNN) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has stylized himself as a political brawler willing to take on all comers, from Disney and the corporate media to high school students wearing masks. But his brewing battle with Donald Trump was for months a one-sided affair. That changed this week when DeSantis for the first time leaned into the burgeoning rivalry in earnest. In […]
14 hours ago
Former President Donald Trump speaks during a Save America rally in October of 2022 in Warren, Mich...
Kristen Holmes, CNN

Trump and his advisers await potential indictment in hush money case

(CNN) — Behind the gilded doors of Mar-a-Lago, former President Donald Trump has toyed with the idea of creating a media spectacle around his potential indictment, both celebrated how it will help him politically and complained about how “unfair” it is, and at times ignored the prospect of criminal charges altogether, sources close to him told CNN. Two […]
2 days ago
A Patriot missile mobile launcher is displayed outside the Fort Sill Army Post near Lawton, Oklahom...
Natasha Bertrand and Aileen Graef, CNN

Ukrainian soldiers impress US trainers as they rapidly get up to speed on Patriot missile system

  (CNN) — The Ukrainian soldiers waved and honked their horns as they drove along a dirt road at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, moving their vehicles into position to defend against a hypothetical Russian missile barrage. These were not ordinary trucks, however. The Ukrainians were manning a US Patriot air defense system, which 65 Ukrainian soldiers have been training on […]
2 days ago
Google is opening up access to Bard, its new AI chatbot tool that directly competes with ChatGPT. P...
Samantha Murphy Kelly, CNN Business

Google begins rolling out its ChatGPT rival

(CNN) — Google is opening up access to Bard, its new AI chatbot tool that directly competes with ChatGPT. Starting Tuesday, users can join a waitlist to gain access to Bard, which promises to help users outline and write essay drafts, plan a friend’s baby shower, and get lunch ideas based on what’s in the fridge. A company […]
2 days ago
The Hollywood sign is seen as it is repainted in preparation for its 100th anniversary in 2023, in ...
Oliver Darcy, CNN

Hollywood braces for potential strike as writers begin high-stakes talks with studios

  (CNN) — Hollywood is holding its breath. The Writers Guild of America commenced high-stakes negotiations with studios on Monday over a contract set to expire on May 1 — which could lead to the first strike in nearly 15 years, a prospect that would cause massive disruption to television and film projects across the industry. […]
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Cheerful young woman writing an assignment while sitting at desk between two classmates during clas...
BYU EMBA at the Marriott School of Business

Hear it Firsthand: 6 Students Share Their Executive MBA Experience at BYU’s Marriott School of Business

The Executive MBA program at BYU offers great opportunities. Hear experiences straight from students enrolled in the program.
Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a new winter activity? Try skijoring in Bear Lake

Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and gates.
Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five common causes of Cervical Cancer – and what you can do to lower your risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get ready for fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy.
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 easy Christmas dinner ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Hundreds of US lawmakers and staff affected by data breach