Noem’s House-approved bill to uphold honesty at IRS advances to Senate

U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem’s (R-SD) bipartisan bill, Ensuring Integrity in the IRS Workforce Act of 2018 unanimously passed the U.S. House of Representatives this week by voice vote.

“This bill puts commonsense oversight provisions on the agency handling our personal information and makes sure people who don’t respect taxpayer resources don’t work at the IRS,” said Rep. Noem following House approval of the bill.

H.R. 3500, which would prohibit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from rehiring employees previously fired for certain kinds of misconduct, has been referred for consideration to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, which is also reviewing the same-named S. 1643, introduced by U.S. Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) last July.

Rep. Noem first introduced the proposal during the 114th Congress. The House passed the measure, but the Senate did not, so the congresswoman reintroduced the bill on July 27, 2017, with Sen. Burr following suit in the Senate.

“I am hopeful the Senate will move quickly to put these practical protections in place,” she said earlier this week.

H.R. 3500, which has six cosponsors, including U.S. Reps. Peter Roskam (R-IL), Tom Rice (R-SC), Diane Black (R-TN), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), materialized after a U.S. Treasury Department investigation and report revealed that between January 2015 and March 2016, the IRS had rehired more than 200 former employees previously fired for misconduct or performance issues, according to Rep. Noem’s office.

For example, “one rehired employee had several misdemeanors for theft and a felony for possession of a forgery device,” according to the department’s 2017 report, and “two rehired employees had repeatedly falsified employment forms by omitting prior convictions or terminations.”

“South Dakota taxpayers shouldn’t have to worry that someone who has already been fired for mismanaging their hard-earned dollars will be hired again,” said Rep. Noem. “We need to know there is integrity in the IRS, and when they rehire people who have already mishandled our most sensitive data, that integrity is broken.”