Grassley Wants Explanation of IRS Decision to Pay $70 Million in Bonuses

By James Lynch, Reporter

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By Ellen Kurt

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – It comes as no surprise to Sen. Chuck Grassley that the IRS is in hot water again.

The tax collection agency came under fire for allegedly targeting tea party and other conservative groups for overzealous audits of their applications for tax-exempt status and for spending lavishly on employee conferences. Wednesday, the IRS earned a rant from the Iowa Republican for deciding to pay $70 million in employee bonuses.

To Grassley, that contradicts an April directive from the White House Office of Management and Budget telling agencies to cancel discretionary bonuses in light of sequestration, the automatic spending cuts enacted this year.

“The IRS arguably spits on the rights of law-abiding citizens by targeting groups seeking tax-exempt status solely for their perceived political affiliation,” Grassley said in a conference call with Iowa reporters.

The directive was part of the Obama administration’s attempt to impose across-the-board cuts enacted by Congress. It was written by Danny Werfel while he was at the White House budget office.

However, it appears Werfel plans to reverse decision rather than reclaim the $70 million set aside for discretionary bonuses.

Three congressional committees and the Justice Department are investigating the targeting of conservative groups.

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