Federal employees who have engaged in misconduct, are not in good standing with their agency or have violated the law would be prohibited from receiving bonuses under bipartisan legislation reintroduced in the Senate Monday.
Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) reintroduced the Stop Wasteful Federal Bonuses Act after an IRS Inspector General Report showed 2,800 delinquent employees received $2.8 million in bonuses between 2010 and 2012. More than $1 million went to IRS employees who had unpaid taxes.
“Taxpayers in New Hampshire and across the nation are alarmed by recent reports of IRS employees being awarded bonuses that they shouldn’t have received,” Ayotte said. “Federal employees who haven’t paid their taxes or who face disciplinary problems should not be getting bonuses. This bipartisan legislation takes commonsense steps to prevent workers with serious conduct infractions from receiving bonus pay.”
If the agency inspector general, a senior ethics official of the agency, or the Government Accountability Office determines that the employee’s conduct warrants firing or suspension for violation of agency policy, or if the employee could face more than a year in prison for breaking the law, he would not be eligible to receive a bonus.
Currently, some agencies don’t consider conduct or tax compliance when paying bonuses, including the IRS. Ayotte and McCaskill have pushed for similar bills in the past and say this highlights the need for legislation.
“If we’re going to restore Americans’ confidence that their federal government is spending money wisely, this legislation is a commonsense step in that direction,” McCaskill said. “Using taxpayer dollars to give cash bonuses to employees who’ve engaged in conduct that could get them fired or sent to jail is outrageous — and this bill would put an end to it.”
Under the bill, an employee would not be eligible for bonus pay for five years. A mandatory clawback provision would require the employee to repay any bonus received during the year his adverse conduct was determined. Employees would be given notice and the opportunity for a hearing.
“Federal employees who have broken the law should not receive bonuses at the expense of hardworking American taxpayers,” Fischer said. “Our bill takes meaningful steps to stop this outrageous practice while helping ensure taxpayer dollars are being used more efficiently and effectively.”