Inspector General Looking Into IRS Bonuses

Acting IRS Commissioner: President May Have Approved Certain Bonuses

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On Monday, Rep. Harold Rogers (R., Ky.) of the House Appropriations Subcommittee asked acting IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel about bonuses within the IRS, some of which had to be approved by the president. Werfel explained the president's role in distributing these bonuses, stating, "There's a small sub-class of bonuses called presidential rank awards that are approved by the president, but they are relatively small in number, maybe a couple hundred throughout the entire government. The larger amounts of bonuses in terms of quantity are typically approved by the agency head."

REP. HAROLD ROGERS: Mr. Werfel, I’m beginning to like you when you say you don't want more money. That’s music to my ears and I’m sure the chairman feels the same. Now, in addition to the $50 million for conferences over the last three years, the press is reporting that the IRS paid out more than $92 million in bonuses during that three-year period. And within that sum, key figures in the current scandal got bonuses. Sarah Hall Ingram, the former Commissioner of the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division which was responsible for overseeing the 501 c4 applications, received a bonus, bonuses of $103,000 plus which increased during the period of the increased scrutiny of these conservative groups and in addition to that she was promoted, now to head up the IRS involvement with Obamacare. Joseph Grant, former Deputy Commissioner of Tax Exempt, three bonuses, almost $84,000. Same period of time. Lois learner, Director of the Exempt Organizations Division, given $42,000 in bonuses during that period. And all of these had to be approved by the president, isn't that right?

DANIEL WERFEL: My understanding is there's a small sub-class of bonuses called Presidential Rank Awards that are approved by the president but they are relatively small in number, maybe a couple hundred throughout the entire government. The larger amounts of bonuses in terms of quantity are typically approved by the agency head.

ROGERS: OPM's guidelines say that bonuses over $25,000 have to be approved by the president. So did the president approve these bonuses of these very critical people in this scandal that we're investigating?

WERFEL: I’m not sure of the answer to that question. I’m also not sure the way you phrased the question if the bonus totals you articulated were individual bonuses that added up to those numbers or if there was an individual bonus that exceeded 25,000 but that's something we can certainly look into and get back to you.

ROGERS: Would you let me know?

WERFEL: Yes.