A new report by the inspector general of the IRS found that a small group of top executives at the IRS ran up “extremely high travel expenses” in recent years, with some basically commuting each week to work in Washington, D.C. by plane from around the nation.
“In some cases, the travel days exceeded the number of business days due to employees remaining in travel status during the weekends and holidays,” the report said.
An IRS source told me the most frequent travelers were four different officials inside the tax agency who “work” in Washington, at IRS headquarters, but actually live in Dallas, Minneapolis and Atlanta.
In other words, they would fly weekly to and from Washington, D.C. by plane, and then bill the taxpayer for that travel and their extended stay in D.C. – and it is not a temporary situation, but has been going on for years.
One IRS official, labeled “Executive B” in the report, traveled to Washington, D.C. a total of 282 days in Fiscal Year 2012, claiming almost $127,000 in travel costs. (That’s $450/day if you do the math.)
In FY 2011, “Executive B” traveled to Washington 238 days, with total travel costs of almost $116,000.
“In such cases, the cost and frequency of travel indicate that some executives may not live in the best location to economically accomplish their roles and responsibilities,” the report noted.
“Executive C” spent 213 days in Washington in FY 2011 at a cost of just over $105,000.
More examples from that same year include “Executive A” spending 290 days in Washington for $88,951 in expenses; “Executive G” spent 193 days in Washington for $86,433 in costs.
While such examples might not seem to make sense to some, it has evidently been seen before at the IRS.
“I retired from IRS 13 years ago,” one of my Twitter followers wrote me on Tuesday night, “and it was a common practice even then.”
Makes you feel proud, doesn’t it?