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Ayotte, McCaskill Introduce Bill to Stop Wasteful Federal Bonuses

Bipartisan bill would prohibit bonus pay for federal employees who have conduct problems, haven't paid taxes

Apr 29, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) announced today that they've introduced the "Stop Wasteful Federal Bonuses Act" - bipartisan legislation that would prohibit bonuses for federal employees who aren't in good standing with their agency or the law.

The senators' bill comes in the aftermath of a recent IRS Inspector General report revealing that $2.8 million was paid in bonuses between 2010 and 2012 to 2,800 employees with conduct violations - including more than $1 million for over 1,100 IRS employees who are delinquent on their taxes. Some agencies, including the IRS, don't consider conduct problems, including tax compliance, when determining bonuses - highlighting the need for the Ayotte-McCaskill legislation.

"Federal employees who have disciplinary problems or who haven't paid their taxes shouldn't be getting bonuses. Taxpayers in New Hampshire and across the nation were alarmed by recent reports of IRS employees being awarded bonuses that they shouldn't have received. This bipartisan legislation takes common sense steps to prevent workers with serious conduct infractions from receiving bonus pay," said Senator Ayotte.

"The notion that taxpayer dollars would be used to pay cash bonuses to employees who've engaged in conduct that could get them fired or sent to jail is outrageous-and our bill would put an end to it," Senator McCaskill said. "If we're going to restore Americans' confidence that their federal government is spending money wisely, then this is a commonsense step in that direction."

The Ayotte-McCaskill "Stop Wasteful Federal Bonuses Act" would prohibit the head of an agency from awarding a bonus to an employee if the agency Inspector General, a senior ethics official of the agency, or the Government Accountability Office makes a determination that the employee's conduct either violated agency policy for which the employee may be fired or suspended, or violated a law for which the employee may be imprisoned for more than 1 year. The bill would maintain the prohibition for 5 years.

The bill also includes a mandatory clawback provision so that the employee - after notice and an opportunity for a hearing - must repay the amount of any bonus made during the year in which such a determination is made.

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