Grassley places hold on Treasury nominees over whistleblower concerns

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On June 21, Grassley sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, criticizing the office for processing claims at a "snail's pace" and distributing a "shockingly low" amount of awards. He demanded answers to several detailed questions about the work the office has done, and said Wednesday he would hold up the two nominations, which are pending before the Senate Finance Committee, until he gets those answers.

The move marks the latest in a long-running standoff between Grassley and the IRS over the office, as the lawmaker has maintained the agency has limited the program's effectiveness, pointing out it has processed just a handful of rewards since it was expanded.

A May report from the Treasury's inspector general for tax administration said the IRS may need to improve oversight of the program to ensure whistleblower claims are accurate, and to do more to establish a concrete timeline for processing claims.

Under the program, whistleblowers can qualify for awards by supplying information on noncompliance cases involving more than $2 million. The 2006 law also scrapped a $10-million maximum award, and instead implemented a limit based on the amount of revenue collected from the information.