Some Top IRS Execs are Commuting from Texas to D.C., and the Taxpayer's Picking Up the Bill

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Beth Tucker, testifying before Congress on June 26.
Beth Tucker, deputy commissioner at the IRS, did not seem particularly happy to be sitting before the House Oversight Committee on June 26. Maybe it was the way the focus of the hearing shifted quickly from a possibly fishy but obscure IRS contract to the agency's admitted targeting of Tea Party groups, or maybe it had something to do with the obvious glee Republicans like Ohio's Jim Jordan took in the interrogation. Or maybe, she was just a little homesick.

Tucker works at the IRS headquarters in Washington D.C., but she lives in Texas. The commute, as you might expect, is a bitch. Lucky for her, she doesn't have to pay it.

Tucker was identified by the National Review as one of a number of IRS executives discussed in an inspector general's report released this week whose "extremely high" travel expenses approach or exceed six figures. So was Laurel Cummings, a Dallasite who's helping implement the Affordable Care Act.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, who first reported the story, explains:

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.

That report doesn't name names, referring only to figures like "Executive B," so it's hard to tell whether Tucker or Cummings are responsible for the $145,000 bill or something less. Regardless, the report notes mildly, such cases suggest "that some executives may not live in the best location to economically accomplish their roles and responsibilities. It might be more cost effective to relocate the executives through a permanent or temporary change of station."

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44 comments
Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

This is the kind of crap that fuels the Tea Party.  The Mandarins don't care about cost, it's all a game and there is no accountability for the money.   Remember Timmy Geithner didn't even do his taxes right and no one cared.

Joe Bannon
Joe Bannon

Time to re-write that constitution. I don't know about any of you, but I wasn't around in 1789 to vote for it.

WylieH
WylieH

If these senior IRS executives are receiving reimbursement from the government for travel between their homes and Washington, they need to be reporting this as additional taxable income on their personal returns.  Are they doing this?

CitzenKim
CitzenKim

People always gripe about corrupt politicians, but the real corruption is in the Federal bureaucracy that was there when [most of] the politicians arrived and will be there when they leave.  These people define their own regal lifestyles like most corporate executives and with less scrutiny.  Watch and see if anybody is fired, demoted, or disciplined over this mater.

russp
russp

If the feds were really serious about the budget they would just stop all the waste such as this. But since they all have their hands in it, no one will ever do anything about it. It's hard to imagine that there is even one person of authority left in Washington at this point that has not taken a piece of the money recklessly thrown around.

CitzenKim
CitzenKim

I'm amazed how many cons that regularly read and comment on this blog complain about how it is so liberal leaning.  I doubt many liberal/progressives sit around watching Fox news.

pak152
pak152

wadeaminnit. i keep having to check the masthead to confirm that this has appeared on the DO's UnFair Park blog. did some conservative/libertarian hack into the blog?

Blake Wilson
Blake Wilson

Has the DO editorial staff been compromised? This reads like a complaint about big government; so out of character.

NewsDog
NewsDog

I'm shocked, shocked I tell you, that the Obama administration, the most transparent administration of all time, could possibly allow this sort of abuse of taxpayer monies and trust. 

The next thing I know someone will tell me that the Dems are as corrupt and clueless as everyone else. And we were promised CHANGE, remember?   

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

"All animals are created equal, but some animals are more equal than others." -- Napolean (the pig, not the diminutive 18th/19th century French leader.)

ruddski
ruddski

When you consider how hard the IRS worked for Obama's re-election, shouldn't you give them a pass?

mcdallas
mcdallas

"Do as we say, not as we do!"

nanjikush
nanjikush

Laurel Cummings who lives in a 500K home can easily afford her flights too. Thanks dallascad.org

DktrStrangelove
DktrStrangelove

What's the bill for maintenance on that pile of hair?


This ain't 1990, Beth. Think about a style update.

Esteban Mainzer
Esteban Mainzer

yep...it's just those "paranoid" and "racist" tea party people, huh?

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@WylieH They probably get around income reporting by obtaining official travel vouchers or travel orders.  If the government foots the bill from the beginning, there's nothing to reimburse.  I have no idea how they would justify the trip since most travel orders are written for specific purpose, like TDY orders for military training or temporary duty assignments.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@CitzenKim I beg to differ.  with how often 'faux' news is referenced here, one would assume that the bulk of Fox's viewership is made up of liberals.  Personally, I'm a self-thinking Right-of-Center moderate, so I'm free to make up my own mind about the news, the agenda of those who bring us the news and the impact of that news on my life, without having to check with party officials first.

roo_ster
roo_ster

@CitzenKim That is because the Right in this country is more intellectually curious, even regarding points of view contrary to their own.

James080
James080 topcommenter

@NewsDog  

When Obama promised CHANGE, he meant regime change. No one said anything about changing our corrupt system of government.

CitzenKim
CitzenKim

@NewsDog Dude, get a clue, the IRS bureaucracy that permitted this crap has been around since the Reagan/Bush #1/Clinton administrations.  Obama doesn't personally fill every position in the IRS, fool!

CitzenKim
CitzenKim

 "Worked for Obama's re-election?"  Pardon me, I wasn't aware that the IRS sent workers out door-to-door on government time or contributed huge $$$ to his re-election fund?  Please explain.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@RTGolden1 @WylieH  

Please see the IRS definition of "regular commute".  Also they are employees not contractors.

As far as nothing to reimburse, "If the government foots the bill from the beginning, ...", the employee would need to declare that as compensation would need to be reported on the employee's W-2 as other compensation.


It is items such as this, that really get to me, when the government wants to see my mileage logs just to make sure that there isn't ~4,000 miles per year of personal use that is being claimed as business use.  Or in other words about $2,200 per year (max), whereas these guys are probably easily spending that much per week on a single round trip ticket and lodging.

CornyDoggy
CornyDoggy

@roo_ster

HA!  I'm not used to seeing "the right" and "intellectual" in the same sentence

roo_ster
roo_ster

@CitzenKim They did their part by sidelining many Tea Party organizations via intimidation and beating them over the head with the tax code.  

One of the more effective corrupt electoral tactics implemented the last fro years.

CornyDoggy
CornyDoggy

@everlastingphelps

I'm constantly trying to play devil's advocate on my positions.

While generalizations such as roo_ster's are usually a bad idea (I realize that itself is a generalization), to categorize the entire "right" in this country as more intellectually curious than the left is ironic considering their absolutist positions on such things as economic policy and climate change.  

Add to that their affinity for religion-influenced social policy and disdain for higher education.

CitzenKim
CitzenKim

@ruddski "Compromised?"  Obama won the popular vote by 5M and the electoral vote 332 - 206.  But those tax exempt Tea Party groups would have made that up, yeah.

Lay of the weed, man.

CitzenKim
CitzenKim

@roo_ster @CitzenKim Yeah, so a few geezers that were going to vote for Romney under any circumstances weren't allowed to claim tax exempt status and that of course decided the election in favor of Obama.  Must be the butterfly effect at work.

Know what's corrupt?  A man that intends to be President of the US having complete contempt for the most unfortunate 47% of the country's population.  Same for his followers.

CornyDoggy
CornyDoggy

@roo_ster

Quite the extrapolation you're making there.  So Tea Party organizations were intimidated....and how exactly did that translate into the election?

ruddski
ruddski

Basically a compromised election.

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