On Wednesday, while tea party and 9.12 groups gathered in Washington, D.C. to protest recent actions of the Internal Revenue Service, that very agency is making plans to hand out an estimated $70 million in employee bonuses.
Not only are sequester cuts causing many government agencies to announce employee furloughs but the IRS has been the center of controversy lately with its targeting of conservative organizations seeking tax exempt status.
When word of this reached Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, he immediately fired off a letter, pointing out that sequestration was supposed to cut off all bonus payments, according to CNN.
“Does the IRS intend to execute an agreement to preserve approximately $70 million for union bonuses during sequestration?” wrote Grassley.
The agency claims that the bonuses are all on the up-and-up, and conform to existing law and policy.
“In accordance with OMB guidance, the IRS is actively engaged with NTEU on these matters in recognition of our current budgetary constraints,” IRS spokesman Dean Patterson said in a statement.
CNN’s Jennifer Liberto reported:
“In accordance with OMB guidance, the IRS is actively engaged with NTEU on these matters in recognition of our current budgetary constraints,” said IRS spokesman Dean Patterson in a statement.
Grassley wasn’t the only lawmaker on Capitol Hill who was not amused by this news.
“It’s like robbing Peter to pay Paul,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. “On the one hand the IRS claims it’s short on resources but on the other hand it appears they’re ready to dole out $70 million in bonuses. That looks like a payoff to union workers at a time when we’re drowning in a sea of red ink.”
Hatch is the ranking Republican member of the Senate Finance Committee.
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