IRS Worker Suspended For Soliciting Obama Votes From Callers
By Oulimata Ba | Jul 11, 2014 03:48 PM EDT
A worker for the IRS help line will spend the next 100 days without a job or paycheck for trying to convince callers to vote for President Barack Obama.
Instead of helping callers with their taxes, the unnamed male employee was encouraging help line callers to re-elect Obama during his 2012 campaign, the watchdog agency U.S. Office of Special Counsel announced Thursday. The worker was suspended for 100 days without pay after the agency filed a complaint in April, Newsmax.com reported.
"OSC's complaint alleged that, when fielding taxpayers' questions on an IRS customer service help line, the employee repeatedly urged taxpayers to re-elect President Obama in 2012 by delivering a chant based on the spelling of the employee's last name," according to a Thursday statement from the agency.
According to the 1939 Hatch Act, federal employees are prohibited from running in elections, promoting candidates or soliciting contributions.
The suspension was issued after the employee admitted to violating the Act and "acknowledged that he had used his authority and influence as an IRS customer service representative for a political purpose and did so while at work," the agency said.
The incident is the third to occur in recent months in relation to the Hatch Act, The Washington Times reported. In May, the OSC gave a Dallas-based IRS office a warning after complaints were made about Obama screensavers and campaign buttons around the office.
Another IRS employee in Kentucky received a 14-day suspension for going on a rant about Republicans during a phone conversation with a taxpayer.
Representative Charles Boustany said the latest settlement is evidence that the IRS is "out of control," according to Newsmax.com
"This latest development exposes a culture that tolerates or even encourages politically motivated activities, contrary to the agency's mission and purpose," Boustany said before demanding a rigorous internal review on the incident.