U.S. Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) have introduced legislation that would prohibit bonuses from being paid to federal workers who are not in good standing with their agency or the law.
Known as the “Stop Wasteful Federal Bonuses Act,” the legislation 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.
The bill is being proposed in response to the recent news that $2.8 million was paid in bonuses between 2010 and 2012 to 2,800 federal employees with conduct violations, many of whom were IRS employees with delinquent taxes.
Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) introduced similar legislation back in 2011 that would have fired or prohibiting hiring tax delinquent federal workers. The legislation ultimately failed to pass the House.
“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.
Senator McCaskill added, “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.”