Senators to IRS: Stop Rehiring Fired Employees

WASHINGTON – Today, Senators Richard Burr (R-NC), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Dean Heller (R-NV) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo) introduced the Ensuring Integrity in the IRS Workforce Act of 2016. The Treasury watchdog found unsettling evidence that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has repeatedly rehired employees who were fired for poor conduct and performance after a lengthy examination process. This legislation will require the IRS to stop this practice. The watchdog’s report even found that an employee who had “Do Not Rehire” stamped on their personnel file was rehired.

“IRS employees who were fired for serious offenses and gross misconduct like fraud, falsification of documents, and unauthorized access to taxpayer information shouldn’t be allowed back in the agency at all,” said Burr. “This is insulting to the American people and the employees who do serve honorably, and simply gives bad actors a chance to bilk the taxpayers a second time. Even an individual with ‘DO NOT REHIRE’ stamped on their files was mistakenly hired again. This practice must end now. It is the definition of insanity.” 

“The lack of accountability at federal agencies is destroying Americans’ trust in their government,” said Isakson, a member of the Senate Committee on Finance. “As chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I have been working to strengthen accountability measures for VA employees. Similarly, I strongly support this measure to hold errant employees at the Internal Revenue Service appropriately accountable and help restore Americans’ trust in the IRS."

“With so many scandals calling into question the integrity of the IRS, the agency already has a tough enough time convincing taxpayers it should be taken seriously,” said Heller. “This is why the IRS should have a greater ability to fire employees who commit misconduct. More importantly, it is incomprehensible that those same employees, who commit serious offenses, are allowed to be re-hired by the IRS, especially if the IRS has concerns over budgetary constraints. If the IRS is to ever restore its credibility and regain Nevadan taxpayers’ trust, this behavior must stop.” 

“The IRS continues to confuse the stick with the carrot, rewarding their employees’ bad behavior with favorable outcomes,” Enzi said. “Common sense would suggest that an employee who was fired for misconduct or poor performance shouldn’t be hired back, but the IRS’s outrageous and bewildering behavior continues to defy logic. This legislation is another important piece of the puzzle to help bring needed accountability to an agency that refuses to operate within reason.”

Representatives Kristi Noem (R-SD) and Peter Roskam (R-IL) introduced H.R. 3724: Ensuring Integrity in the IRS Workforce Act of 2015 last year. The bill will also prohibit the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service from rehiring any employee of the Internal Revenue Service who was involuntarily separated from service for misconduct.

Bill text available here.