The Department of Homeland Security dished out nearly $2 million in paychecks last year to employees placed on "paid administrative leave" for purposes ranging from misconduct charges to security clearance problems, Judicial Watch reports.
The government watchdog discovered that $1.8 million was spent in 2014 to keep 88 employees on leave with some employees collecting money from the government while being on leave for three or more years.
Judicial Watch writes:
The reality is much different and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is a recent example though there are countless others across the government. DHS spent about $1.8 million last year to keep 88 employees on paid leave and many of them have been collecting their government pay without working for longer stretches. Four DHS employees were on paid administrative leave for three years or more and 17 for two years or more. Of the 88, 53 face misconduct charges, 13 have security clearance problems and DHS had questions about the fitness for duty of 22. The Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Iowa Republican Charles Grassley, made the figures public this week and is demanding answers. Government employees getting paid to stay home, sometimes for more than a year, is detrimental to taxpayers and good government, Grassley says. This week the senator fired off a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson with a detailed list of questions involving the circumstances surrounding the paid leave of his 88 employees.
This is part of a broader and quite serious issue among government agencies. In fact, last year a federal audit revealed that the U.S. spent an eye-popping $3.1 billion during a three-year period on salaries for government employees on paid administrative leave. At least 57,000 workers were on paid administrative leave during the period analyzed and around 4,000 stayed home with full salary for three months to a year, according to the probe which was conducted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress. The scary part is that this particular audit only considered five agencies so the GAO’s report only features a snippet of the true problem.