New IRS scandal: Top executives spend $9.5 MILLION in travel expenses in just two years – and some even traveled more days than they worked
By David Martosko In Washington Daily Mail PUBLISHED: 24 July 2013
Some of them were on the road more days than they worked because they live half a country away from their Washington, D.C. offices and frequently travel on their days off.
One IRS higher-up racked up more than $283,000 in taxpayer-funded travel expenses during those same two years. Another spent $161,000 in 2011 alone. The $9.5 million total over two years reflects the travel expenses of 373 high-level IRS officials.
The report, from Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George, is the latest in a string of black eyes for America’s much-maligned tax-collection service.
A staffer with a Republican member of the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee told MailOnline that the legislative body would be taking ‘a hard look’ at the report, and ‘you can bet on hearings after the [August] recess.’
George writes that his office ‘found no misconduct’ among the biggest spenders despite their ‘extremely’ high expenses, but the report admits that their travel bills ‘appear to be excessive when compared to the average travel expenses for IRS executives.’
Some of them are billing taxpayers for what amounts to commuting expenses as they travel regularly from their home bases to work at the IRS’s Washington, D.C. headquarters.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that some of those senior IRS officials live in Dallas, Minneapolis and Atlanta, but work in the nation’s capital.
Three such employees, identified in the report only as ‘Executive A,’ ‘Executive B’ and ‘Executive C,’ spent more than 200 days on the road in 2011 – all with the ‘destination’ of Washington.
Executive A spent 290 days traveling at a cost of $88,951. Executive B billed the government for 238 days of travel costing $115,806. Executive C’s tab came to $105,127 for 213 days of travel.
Under fire: Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George (L) and Acting IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel have some explaining to do
‘But when it was to the same location over and over again, it appeared that those individuals might not have the proper or appropriate place of duty.’
Holmgren added that ‘the average IRS executive’ spent ‘between $12,000 and $13,000 per year.’
Most IRS executives, according to the watchdog report – 60 percent in all – billed taxpayers for $10,000 or less in travel expenses during 2011 and 2012.
Days before the report’s public release on Tuesday, Acting IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel issued a new directive limiting employees to 75 days of reimbursed travel in any fiscal year.
‘The IRS has put in place new procedures to stop the practice of allowing executives to routinely leave their home office to travel to another city to conduct their principal work,’ the IRS said in a statement on Tuesday. ‘The previous practice, while allowed under federal rules, is no longer appropriate for this tight fiscal environment.’
Werfel, however, can personally green-light exceptions to this rule.
Deputy Inspector General David Holmgren (R) talked to journalists about the report, conceding that several IRS road warriors traveled ‘to the same location over and over again’
‘Travel by leadership is critical because the IRS is a national operation, with about 90,000 employees located in 620 locations from coast to coast,’ the IRS insisted in its press release.
‘Face-to-face interaction with employees and managers is critical to ensure that sound practices and proper procedures are being followed both for taxpayer service efforts and tax compliance.’
IRS Chief Financial Officer Pamela LaRue said in that statement that that the executives who travel the most have ‘highly specialized’ jobs that ‘demand unique skill sets due to the complexity of the underlying tax law and technology infrastructure. It can take years to build the necessary experience in fields such as information technology and tax enforcement and administration – areas critical to successfully running a tax system that collects $2.5 trillion a year.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2376731/New-IRS-scandal–8-5-MILLION-travel-expenses-just-years-chronicled-watchdog-report-including-executives-traveled-days-worked.html#ixzz2ZzRVBT00
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