4/29/14 Higher Standards
The IRS dished-out $178 million in bonuses including to workers who owe taxes. You just can’t make this stuff up.
It isn’t just the IRS. There’s a growing trend that government workers – particularly federal employees – are held to a lower standard than anyone else.
Workers who misbehave, commit ethics violations, and even break the law are often given little or no punishment. And when they are punished, their identities are redacted in order to protect their privacy. Federal prosecutors don’t do this for anyone else.
Here are some examples.
An investigation found that the National Reconnaissance Office — a highly secretive intelligence agency — failed to report to law enforcement even though federal law requires it workers who admitted to crimes — including child molestation — during the course of polygraph examinations.
An Army colonel was found to have engaged in sexual misconduct severely damaging command morale. But investigation documents released under a FOIA request redacted his name to protect his privacy.
In an exclusive Behind the Headlines investigation we learned dozens of Social Security Administration employees had improperly received social security and other government benefits. In one case, as much as $65,000. Three out of four of the guilty received little or no punishment.
And all had their identities redacted.
[Behind the Headlines previously reported that internal documents marked “NOT FOR PUBLIC DISSEMINATION” reveal that in just two years, more than 1,000 FBI agents and employees have been disciplined for misconduct and breaking the law. Offenses include: fraud; shoplifting; lying under oath; weapons violation; failure to pay taxes; improper handling of evidence; possessing child pornography; and marrying a drug dealer. Eighty-five of the 1,045 violations resulted in dismissal from the FBI. Other punishment was as modest as a letter of censure. And there is no indication anyone was ever charged with a crime.]
Those working in public service should be held to the highest standard.