The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents who politically targeted conservative and tea party groups may be able to appeal and significantly delay any attempts to fire them due to federal worker regulations.
As Politico notes, federal workers may appeal their termination, a process that takes an average 93 days. Even if the IRS employee’s appeal is denied, he or she can appeal to the national Merit Systems Protection Board, which takes an average 245 days.
During the review IRS agents would not draw a paycheck, but could get back pay if they are cleared.
The 1998 IRS reforms created the “10 deadly sins” that allow an IRS commissioner to terminate employees who violate any of the so-called sins. When Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George was asked whether any of the Cincinnati-based IRS agents committed any of the 10 deadly sins, George said, “In theory, it could be interpreted that way.”
Although difficult, federal workers can be fired. Indeed, in 2012, 8,755 federal workers were fired.
So far, acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller resigned a few weeks before his term expired. Today, Lois Lerner, the director in charge of the tax-exempt division at the heart of the IRS scandal that hatched the political targeting scheme, invoked her 5th Amendment right not to incriminate herself during congressional investigation.
Top Democrats are calling for Lois Lerner to resign.