GOP chairman probing TSA bonuses

GOP chairman probing TSA bonuses
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House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzElijah Cummings, Democratic chairman and powerful Trump critic, dies at 68 House Oversight panel demands DeVos turn over personal email records The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke MORE (R-Utah) is investigating bonuses that have been paid to employees by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). 

Chaffetz is demanding the TSA turn over information about bonuses that have been paid since Jan. 1, 2011, in a new letter to the agency's chief, Peter Neffenger. 

Chaffetz, in a letter to the TSA administrator, said the agency's collective bargaining agreement with the American Federation of Government Employees union allows for "performance-based cash awards," but he said it is "unclear ... how these cash awards are issued, among other things. 

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"The committee's view of documents provided by the TSA, and information provided by current and former TSA employees, gave rise to concerns that TSA's highly discretion compensation practices are vulnerable to abuse," he wrote. 

The TSA has been under fire for its bonus system since reports emerged that a whistleblower revealed officials at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport who were involved in embarrassing failed security tests last year received automatic bonuses from the agency. 

One manager at Minneapolis airport received $70,000 in bonuses over a three-year period, according to a report from the city's KMSP television station.  

The revelation about the payouts came after a report from the the Homeland Security Department’s inspector general documented a series of undercover sting operations in which agents tried to pass through security with prohibited items.   

The undercover agents made it through security in nearly all the tests — 67 of 70 — including one instance in which a TSA screener failed to find a fake bomb even after the undercover agent set off a magnetometer. The screener reportedly let the agent through with the fake bomb taped to his back, having missed it during a pat-down.

Chaffetz said TSA officials should produce information about extra payouts since 2011 by March 4 "to help the committee understand TSA's system of awards and bonuses." 

The TSA did not respond to request for a comment on the letter from Chaffetz.