The IRS is in agreement with the National Treasury Employees Union about a $70 million bonus deal, and Republican Senator Chuck Grassley is firing back. The Iowa Senator said the IRS will pay multi-millions in employee union bonuses that are not legally required, and go against an Obama Administration directive. Grassley learned of the news from a “person with knowledge of IRS budgetary procedures” who confirmed the deal.
In a letter to Daniel Werfel, acting IRS commissioner, Grassley criticized the agreement as it should not be paid while federal spending cuts are in effect. “Does the IRS intend to execute an agreement to preserve approximately $70 million for union bonuses during sequestration?” wrote Grassley. “The IRS always claims to be short on resources.” Grassley added that the bonuses should be canceled and clearly violates the April directive from the White House budget office.
Controversy and skepticism is spiraling as Werfel wrote the White House mandate, and now, in his position with the IRS things are getting sticky. The directive clearly states “discretionary monetary awards should not be issued while sequestration is in place, unless issuance of such awards is legally required.”
In an effort to correct the statements made by Grassley, the IRS released a statement confirming negotiation with the union and say they are legally required to pay out the bonuses because of a collective-bargaining. The National Treasury Employees Union president, Colleen Kelley, stood her ground against the reports as well. “NTEU has had a negotiated performance awards program at the IRS for decades, pursuant to the law and regulations which specifically authorize agencies to implement such merit-based incentive programs,” Kelley said.
The Internal Revenue Service is already under widespread scrutiny from recent scandals and this union fuss adds fuel to GOP’s fire, regarding the agents who targeted and spied on members of Tea Party applying for tax exemption during 2010-2012 elections. More recently, the IRS took flack for the Star Trek training video that was allegedly made with $50,000 of taxpayers’ money.