Exclusive: Conservative Members Press GOP Leadership: Cut Off Bonuses for IRS Employees
A group of conservative House members led by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) is writing to the leadership of the House Appropriations Committee to press for cutting off IRS employee bonuses in the division of the agency that targeted Tea Party groups.
“IRS Commissioner John Koskinen announced in February of this year his decision to pay out bonuses to IRS employees to improve ‘employee morale,’” Gosar and six other House conservatives wrote to Appropriations chairman Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY). “We find these payouts to be particularly offensive given that the morale of countless Americans was crushed by the IRS. We understand, though, that not every IRS employee was responsible for the misdeeds—it seems that the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division was primarily responsible for these unjust actions. That is why we are seeking only to prohibit this division’s bonuses in the upcoming appropriations process.”
The letter, which was sent on April 2 but is becoming public for the first time now after being provided exclusively to Breitbart News, is the second in a series of letters Gosar is writing to pressure the man in House Republican leadership--Rogers, as the Appropriations chairman--who can actually stop wasteful spending by refusing to appropriate it in spending bills.
This letter contains specific legislative language that Gosar and the other members want Rogers to include in the next appropriations bill that would make it illegal for taxpayer money to be used to pay for bonuses for employees of that IRS division.
“The power to tax is the power to destroy, and these employees at the IRS committed a grave injustice to countless Americans,” Gosar and the other conservatives wrote. “It sends the wrong message to the American people that Congress would allow these ‘performance awards’ to be doled out after the wrongdoing occurred.”
Other members who signed the Gosar letter include Reps. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), Dan Benishek (R-MI), Walter Jones (R-NC), Pete Olson (R-TX), Steve Stockman (R-TX) and Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI). This is the second in a series of letters where Gosar is putting pressure on a senior House Republican--Rogers--to use his power at the Appropriations Committee to refuse to fund wasteful government programs.
The first one, which Breitbart News reported on earlier this week, aimed at pressuring Rogers to use his power to cut funding for a $3 million NASA program that teaches employees of that government agency how to lobby Congress.
The move comes as the IRS’s Lois Lerner, the now-former head of that division, has been voted into contempt of Congress by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The full is expected to soon take up the measure. The House Ways and Means Committee, meanwhile, has recommended to the Department of Justice and Attorney General Eric Holder that criminal legal action be taken against Lerner over the matter.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has called for impeachment proceedings against Holder if he refuses to act against Lerner, per the Ways and Means Committee referral.
In a Monday evening interview on Fox News, House Speaker John Boehner said somebody is going to prison for the IRS scandal. “When this story first broke, I asked the question or someone asked me the question: ‘Well, who should be fired?’” Boehner said. “Well, I don’t care who’s going to be fired. I care who’s going to jail. The fact is the IRS is—there are specific laws that protect taxpayers and force the IRS to comply with the law. Somebody at the IRS violated the law."