Despite being under heavy scrutiny from both Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill and all over the country for inappropriately targeting conservative groups, IRS employees are about to receive $70 million in bonuses.
The Internal Revenue Service is about to pay $70 million in employee bonuses despite an Obama administration directive to cancel discretionary bonuses because of automatic spending cuts enacted this year, according to a GOP senator.
Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa says his office has learned that the IRS is executing an agreement with the employees' union on Wednesday to pay the bonuses. Grassley says the bonuses should be canceled under an April directive from the White House budget office.
The directive was written by Danny Werfel, a former budget official who has since been appointed acting IRS commissioner.
"The IRS always claims to be short on resources," Grassley said. "But it appears to have $70 million for union bonuses. And it appears to be making an extra effort to give the bonuses despite opportunities to renegotiate with the union and federal instruction to cease discretionary bonuses during sequestration."And how is this even possible? Through unions and government bureaucracy.
Office of Management and Budget "guidance directs that agencies should not pay discretionary monetary awards at this time, unless legally required," IRS spokeswoman Michelle Eldridge said in a statement. "IRS is under a legal obligation to comply with its collective bargaining agreement, which specifies the terms by which awards are paid to bargaining-unit employees."
Eldridge, however, would not say whether the IRS believes it is contractually obligated to pay the bonuses.
"In accordance with OMB guidance, the IRS is actively engaged with NTEU on these matters in recognition of our current budgetary constraints," Eldridge said.
The National Treasury Employees Union did not respond to requests for comment.
This news comes just as the quarterly taxes of Americans become due. As a reminder, Lois Lerner, the woman in charge of tax exempt groups during the time of the blatant Tea Party targeting, is still pulling a six figure paycheck while being put on "leave" just as summer begins. Must be nice! Not to mention during the time targeting occurred, Lerner received $42,000 in bonuses and raked in $740,000 in taxpayer funded salary between 2009 and 2012.
Keep working America, the IRS is depending on you.