01.19.17

Treasury Nominee Mnuchin Commits to Burr Plan to Clean Up IRS Misconduct

WASHINGTON – Today, the Senate Committee on Finance held a confirmation hearing for Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin. Committee member Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) questioned Mnuchin about his plans to clean up misconduct by Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employees. Cleaning up IRS misconduct, especially the practice of rewarding IRS employees who do not pay their personal taxes and rehiring employees that were previously fired for misconduct, has long been a priority for Senator Burr.

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WATCH: FINANCE: Burr Questions Mnuchin About IRS Misconduct

BURR: “In April 2014 the Treasury [Inspector General] came out with a study, he found that the Internal Revenue Service had paid out $2.8 million in bonuses, as well as tens of thousands of hours of leave, and hundreds of pay step increases to employees who were tax delinquent or had committed serious misconduct including fraud and drug abuse…Will you commit to me today to change this policy?”

MNUCHIN: “It sounds very concerning. I commit to work with you and your staff on it. Absolutely.”

BURR: “In another report, December 2014, the Inspector General of the IRS discovered that they had repeatedly hired employees who were fired for poor conduct and performance after lengthy examination processes on their employment. In fact, the Treasury watchdog found that in a sample of 7,163 employees who were rehired by the IRS, 824, or 11 percent of them, had bad performance in their record as to why they were fired in the first place. And in some instances, it said in their records, ‘do not rehire’ yet the IRS rehired them. Do you pledge to this committee to change that insane policy at the IRS.”

MNUCHIN: “That sounds like the most commonsense thing I’ve ever heard. So yes, I absolutely am committed to that.”

In the 114th Congress, Senator Burr introduced a package of legislation to address shameful employment policies at the IRS.

The Ensuring Integrity in the IRS Workforce Act of 2016  addresses unsettling evidence uncovered by the Treasury Watchdog that the IRS 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. In February 2016, Sen. Burr penned an op-ed and confronted IRS Commissioner Koskinen about this disturbing practice.

The No Bonuses for Tax Cheats Act withholds bonuses from federal employees who are delinquent on their taxes or have engaged in documented misconduct. In April of 2014, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration issued a report that found the Internal Revenue Service had paid $2.8 million in bonuses, as well as tens of thousands of hours of leave and hundreds of pay-step increases to employees who were tax delinquent or had committed serious misconduct, including fraud and drug use.

The IRS Accountability Act of 2015  will keep IRS bureaucrats accountable to the American people by giving the IRS Commissioner new authority to fire senior executives who have failed in their performance or committed misconduct. This legislation is based on a law Congress passed in the wake of the VA health care scandal that enables the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to fire senior executives for misconduct.