IRS Commissioner John Koskinen's decision to reinstate 2013 performance bonuses for the embattled agency's workers is "a very bad thing to do at this particular time," Sen. Orrin Hatch said on Tuesday.
"We're undergoing a bipartisan investigation on the [Senate] Finance Committee to get to the bottom of the IRS scandal and to find out where the orders came from to target certain advocacy groups," the Utah Republican told John Bachman of Newsmax TV's "America's Forum."
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"There's no question that not only did senior IRS officials know about the targeting but that it wasn't just junior-level staff who decided to do this.
"The question is, who ordered this? Why did they order it?"
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Koskinen, who took over the Internal Revenue Service last month, said on Monday that he would reinstate bonuses
that were rescinded by acting commissioner Danny Werfel in light of last year's scandals, which included the singling out of tea party and conservative groups for special screening in their applications for tax-exempt status and reports of lavish spending on IRS conferences over three years.
The Senate Finance Committee, of which Hatch is the ranking GOP member, is among several congressional committees investigating the IRS.
"This agency is under a lot of scrutiny," said Hatch, who was scheduled to meet with Koskinen later Tuesday. "There's a lot of work that needs to be done to restore the public's confidence after such blatant violations of the public's trust.
"The thing that bothers me is to give bonuses out, when we haven't finished the bipartisan investigation of this, is maybe going a little bit too far, too soon," he said. "Giving raises to many of its employees, having conducted themselves in a manner inappropriate for government officials — all I can say is give me a break."
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