A government agency losing a significant amount of money will almost always make it public.
When that happens, though, it will take a long time before anyone realizes what happened.
That is the case with the $100,000 payout from the Internal Revenue Service in 2015 to one of its employees, which was revealed in an audit released Monday by the Congressional Joint Economic Committee.
The IRS, in a statement to the committee, acknowledged that it had lost money on its accounting systems and that some employees had been paid for doing nothing more than doing their jobs.
“The IRS is deeply committed to ensuring that taxpayers are able to pay their fair share of taxes, and we are taking the necessary steps to prevent the loss of critical taxpayer dollars in the future,” the statement said.
The $100m was to be paid to the IRS in the form of a one-time payment of $100 per year for 20 years.
The agency’s Chief Financial Officer, Kevin Johnson, was supposed to take the money and distribute it to the employees.
But the IRS, through its chief financial officer, said in a letter to the Senate Finance Committee that he would not be able to do so because he is no longer a director of the agency.
Johnson, a former Republican congressman from Texas, resigned last month.
The Senate committee is holding hearings this week on the IRS scandal, and the IRS has refused to give any details about the payout.
The Treasury Department inspector general, Thomas Hickey, said the IRS paid the $400,000 because the agency “had not made any progress toward a successful settlement with the IRS” and was “underperforming its obligation” as the agency was.
In an interview on Fox News last month, Johnson defended his actions.
“It was a mistake,” he said.
“We were doing a really poor job.
We should have just given that money to the workers.”
The inspector general’s office said it was investigating the matter and was looking into whether the IRS used taxpayer funds for personal use or for political purposes.
The money was to have been paid to employees for work performed in 2015, but the IRS said it could not identify any specific employees who received it.
It also said that it would not identify those employees by name, citing the ongoing investigations.
The office said in its letter to senators that it is “reviewing its internal procedures and procedures to ensure appropriate internal review and corrective actions are in place.”
The IRS said in the letter that it has a process to review all of its employee compensation awards and that it was working with the Treasury Department and the Office of Government Ethics “to address this issue.”
In an emailed statement, Johnson said the “appropriate internal review is underway and we will make additional announcements as they become available.”
The agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Internal Revenue Code prohibits employees from receiving any money in cash or other tangible items for their services.
Johnson did not receive the money, the IRS wrote in the statement.
The inspector’s office also is looking into the decision to give the money to Johnson.
The letter sent to senators said that the IRS “does not have a policy of giving cash or similar items to any employee.”
It said it has an internal review process to ensure that all employees are treated fairly and are given the opportunity to challenge the decision in a neutral manner.
The committee has also asked the IRS to provide more information about the money.
“What are the rules on giving cash to employees to encourage them to exercise their right to challenge an IRS decision?” the committee wrote in its latest letter.
The Office of Management and Budget also said in an emailed response that it did not know about the IRS’ decision to pay the money but “is taking steps to review its policies and procedures” to address “the issue.”
The letter to Congress comes after the inspector general office announced earlier this month that it found a separate problem at the IRS.
The OMB said that a former top official of the IRS division that deals with the payment program for the government’s refund program, referred to as the ‘Bailout Program,’ failed to file certain information forms for three employees, including one that should have required her to file the information, even though she had received $15,000 in annual salary and benefits for doing so.
“This is one of many examples of the OMB’s continuing focus on ensuring that all OMB officials are accountable to the taxpayers they serve,” the Omb said.