While most government departments are reeling from budget cuts mandated by the sequester, the Internal Revenue Service is preparing to hand out bonuses.
Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says that the IRS has made a deal with its union to distribute $70 million in discretionary bonuses to agency employees. The deal would appear to defy an order issued by the White House Budget office in April forbidding government departments from paying discretionary monetary awards unless legally required to do so, the Associated Press notes.
According to Grassley, the IRS told its union that it planned to reclaim $75 million employee bonus funds back in March, but then concluded a new deal to pay the bonuses.
An IRS spokesperson confirmed that the tax collection agency is negotiating with the National Treasury Employees Union over the bonuses, noting that it was “under a legal obligation to comply with its collective bargaining agreement.”
The revelation of IRS bonuses comes on the heels of disclosures by agency leaders last month that conservative and Tea Party groups were improperly targeted for extra scrutiny. The agency has also been hit with a recent report showing that it spent heavily on conferences and promotional videos and failed to properly document the costs of those activities.
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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