The IRS Has Rehired Hundreds of Fired Employees. Congress Should Step In.

IRS seize employees firedFor one of the most punitive agencies in the federal government, the IRS sure is forgiving with its own employees.

Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., has proposed a bill that would prevent the IRS from rehiring employees fired for misconduct or poor performance.

The bill, titled the Ensuring Integrity in the IRS Workforce Act, follows a recent Treasury inspector general report that shows the IRS rehired more than 200 fired workers in a little over a year. A previous inspector general report proves this problem dates back to at least 2009.

According to the Treasury Department’s inspector general, the IRS did not provide officials responsible for hiring decisions with information about employment history, though that information is readily available. As a result, the IRS—an agency with nearly unrivaled access to citizens’ personal information and capacity to harass individual taxpayers—rehired:

  • A fired worker with several misdemeanor theft convictions and one count of felony possession of a forgery device.
  • 11 employees previously disciplined for unauthorized access to taxpayer accounts.
  • An employee who was absent without leave for 270 hours—the equivalent of 33 work days.
  • An employee fired for physically threatening co-workers.
  • An employee fired for lying about previous criminal convictions on employment forms.
  • 17 employees previously caught falsifying official documents.

Often, these employees do not have to wait long to get their old offices back. Two IRS employees fired for poor performance were rehired within six months.

Faced with these findings, the IRS was unapologetic. In a response letter to the Inspector General’s Office, the IRS’ chief human capital officer wrote that the IRS “determined its current process is more than adequate to mitigate any risks to American taxpayers, federal agencies, and its employees.”

Given that the IRS refuses to change its hiring process, swift congressional action is necessary. And Noem’s bill has a good chance to pass. In fact, a previous version of this legislation passed the House, 345-78, a little more than two years ago.

These inspector general reports and the IRS’ response are especially disturbing given the IRS’ extraordinary power over citizens. No department or agency should be able to rehire employees fired for misconduct or poor performance. Future legislation should make federal employees non-hirable throughout the federal government.

This may sound unduly harsh. After all, like private-sector managers, federal managers sometimes may be unfairly critical toward employees that rub them the wrong way. But, unlike in the private sector, there are multiple safeguards in place to prevent wrongful terminations.

Fired federal employees have four separate agencies to help them challenge a termination. In many cases, an employee can have multiple agencies review their case one after another. Thorough to the point of absurdity, this complicated process of appeals (which I describe here) can tie up managers, arbitrators, and administrative judges for years.

Given the incredibly high burden of firing one employee, many managers choose to ignore problem employees as long as possible. A recent survey found only 44 percent of federal employees agree that “steps are taken to deal with a poor performer who cannot or will not improve” in their workplace. On average, the federal government fires about 10,000 employees a year out of a workforce of 2.1 million.

In other words, one in every 200 federal employees is fired in a given year. Only state and local education employees have greater job security.

Given their rarity, it’s safe to assume that pink slips are well earned in the federal workforce. Recipients of this dubious distinction have gotten all the second chances they deserve. When federal employees are shown the door, they should not be let back in.

Noem’s legislation is a long-overdue correction to federal personnel practices tailored to fit workers, rather than meet the mission.

Reprinted with permission from - The Daily Signal - by John York

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craig l wilkinson
3 years ago

Congress or thugs so they probably won’t pass such particularly the Democrats. However this information should be given significant coverage in the papers and large TV companies.

3 years ago

This makes my blood boil. So many innocents lose jobs everyday…and meanwhile, these people get rehired. There is no justice in this world…but then there was none for Lois Lerner either.

3 years ago

Can we get a petition to Congress expressing our disbelief at their lack of judgment … again.

3 years ago

Depending on the severity of the charge it looks like some need to spend some prison time or at least reimbursed the public for cost to taxpayers. I think that some of those charged with more minor charges should be suspended for 5 years and pensions withheld until all costs have been reimbursed. Then if they knowingly commit another crime they definitely get prison time of 10 years or fired permanently for poor performance. Those who get fired permanently could have a partial compensation for contributions to their pensions.

3 years ago


Joelyn Phillips
3 years ago

Swamp. who can drain it?!

rob jones
3 years ago

Why they are forgiving is these are friends who have shown a willingness to crush under one political party and leave the Demoncrats alone. Thus furthering the agenda of the Godless foolish, immoral, self righteous (totally corrupt morally, acting as if righteous) fiends of the worst sort. This rehiring must not happen since these folks have been FIRED for CAUSE. Usually significant criminality in most cases . Many cases of extreme bias were shown by these people.

3 years ago

As a retired Federal employee, I certainly feel that anyone who was fired should NOT be rehired. It is very hard to fire someone in a government job as it is, and there is really no excuse for rehiring someone who has gone through proper procedure with regard to firing. There are many people out there who are responsible and trustworthy and who would really appreciate a good job with good benefits!


Cheryl white
3 years ago

Pass the bill

3 years ago

Would it be possible to include Congress also??

3 years ago

All that had a hand in the decision to Rehire these terminated employees should be shown the door themselves, and put qualifies personnel in their places, ones that know how to work with a code of ethics. Hopefully the new law will pass thru fast, a shame it had to be written to begin with.

3 years ago

This is why we need to abolish the IRS and go with a National Sales Tax (only!) or a simple percentage of Job income tax. This business of having so many pages of instructions and regulations and forms to be filed is RiDICULOUS. The more “paper” the more people to sort it out and the more mistakes and corruption.

Brenda Conner
3 years ago

If they were fired , then they should not get another chance for a job. Let someone that will work for their money , and do a better job have the chance to do so. And this should go for all the federal departments.

3 years ago

This proves two points; One, the federal government is totally out of touch with reality, and two, the damage Obama did to this country is worse than we can imagine. Damn liberal’s! Those managers who are hiring criminals back should be brought up on charges. They are the real problem.

Glen H
3 years ago

Sounds like the administration needs to be fired. Criminals covering for criminals. Taxpayers deserve far better than these idiots in charge. Drain the Swamp in the IRS too!

Stephen Coleman
3 years ago

Do away with the whole damn agency. They are simply the punitive arm of the swamp. Congress will not do anything because Congressmen who do not pay their taxes are never prosecuted.

John C
3 years ago

Why should federal employees be given more leanient HR policies than the private sector. It is time this changed! Also that should apply to State employees. I once had a State employee that had been demoted due to severe inappropriate conduct but I discovered that she was still being paid as a Supervisor. It took a lot of work, but she ultimately was reclassified to the appropriate range consistent with her job role.

3 years ago

To hear this happening is shocking. The practice is outrageous.

3 years ago

“As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly”
Proverbs 26:11

Patricia Moulton
3 years ago

Another reason we need Convention of States to attempt to bring sanity back to DC by We the People…

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