Acting IRS commissioner Danny Werfel’s promise to suspend taxpayer-funded bonuses to IRS officials might not be fully realized because it will violate a contract between the scandal-plagued agency and a public-employee labor union.
“In this unprecedented budget situation, I do not believe the IRS should pay performance awards this year to employees, managers or executives,” Werfel wrote in an email to IRS employees this week.
“This is not a reflection of the quality or performance of the work done by you and your colleagues, but rather an unfortunate byproduct of the difficult budgetary situation we find ourselves in,” Werfel wrote. The IRS is currently under fire after revelations that it improperly targeted the tax-exempt nonprofit status of conservative groups.
But due to a union contract Werfel will not be able to successfully halt all bonuses this year. The National Treasury Employees Union, which represents IRS employees, said that bonuses already promised to unionized IRS workers must be paid, because the bonuses represent work done in 2012, before Werfel canceled bonuses.
The IRS was prepared to pay $70 million in employee bonuses, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley announced in June. As The Daily Caller reported, the IRS employs 201 full-time union representatives, which prompted outrage from lawmakers.
Republican Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina grilled Werfel in a June 6 hearing on the more than $100,000 in bonuses paid to Sarah Hall Ingram, the former head of the IRS tax-exempt division who was later promoted to head the agency’s implementation of Obamacare.
As TheDC has reported, Hall received $103,390 in bonuses between 2009 and 2012.
Werfel said he did not have the information about Werfel’s bonuses at his fingertips, and claimed he did not have the “right staff” to figure out how much money Ingram received in bonuses.