House GOP turns up heat on IRS hiring

GOP lawmakers are turning up the heat on the IRS over a new inspector general report that found the agency rehired hundreds of ex-employees with conduct issues.


Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) asked the agency's commissioner, John Koskinen, in a Friday letter why the IRS didn't have better hiring safeguards to ensure that former staffers who mishandled confidential information weren't brought back.

Treasury's inspector general found that around one in five of the rehired employees it examined had further conduct issues after coming back to the agency. 

The IRS said in a statement on Thursday that it implemented more rigorous hiring standards in 2012 that it believes addresses many of the inspector general's concerns. In its original response to the report, the agency noted that it followed federal guidelines, which take criminal records and drug use into account but not conduct issues like filing taxes late. 

Roskam, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee, said Friday he needed more information about the IRS's standards. He pressed the agency about the 11 employees brought back after unauthorized use of a taxpayer account, and whether the agency felt it needed to further revamp its hiring practices.

"Common sense would suggest that prior conduct and performance is part of determing whether a candidate is qualified, but unclear from the IRS response is whether these considerations are considered at any point," Roskam wrote.