TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Saturday, January 7, 2017

The IRS Scandal, Day 1339:  House GOP Reactivates 'Holman Rule,' Would Have Permitted Reducing Lois Lerner's Pay To $1

IRS Logo 2Washington Post, House Republicans Revive Obscure Rule That Allows Them to Slash the Pay of Individual Federal Workers to $1:

House Republicans this week reinstated an arcane procedural rule that enables lawmakers to reach deep into the budget and slash the pay of an individual federal worker — down to $1 — a move that threatens to upend the 130-year-old civil service.

The Holman Rule, named after an Indiana congressman who devised it in 1876, empowers any member of Congress to propose amending an appropriations bill to single out a government employee or cut a specific program.

The use of the rule would not be simple; a majority of the House and the Senate would still have to approve any such amendment. At the same time, opponents and supporters agree that the work of 2.1 million civil servants, designed to be insulated from politics, is now vulnerable to the whims of elected officials. ...

Democrats and federal employee unions say the provision, which one called the “Armageddon Rule,” could prove alarming to the federal workforce because it comes in combination with President-elect Donald Trump’s criticism of the Washington bureaucracy, his call for a freeze on government hiring and his nomination of Cabinet secretaries who in some cases seem to be at odds with the mission of the agencies they would lead.

Weekly Standard, House GOP Revives Rule Allowing Them To Slash Salaries of Corrupt Federal Workers:

[T]here can be no question that federal workers have far too many civil service protections. After the IRS held a press conference admitting that they had improperly targeted conservative groups, Lois Lerner, the IRS official deemed most responsible, didn't face any meaningful consequences. Instead it was revealed that she recently received $129,000 in bonuses and retired with an annual pension that could possibly exceed $100,000.

Even after Lerner left, John Koskinen, the new interim head of the IRS, ignored congressional subpoenas as the IRS destroyed evidence relating to the investigation of Lerner and engaged in egregious stonewalling. It's pretty clear that the IRS was in no way fearful of suffering any consequences for persecuting thousands of ordinary Americans and flouting Congress.

Western Journalism, GOP House Revives 140-Year-Old Rule That Has Swamp-Dwelling Bureaucrats Sweating Bullets:

The rule would let lawmakers target civil servants who abuse their posts but still have union protections. The rule could, for instance, have been used on former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner, locus of the IRS’ intimidation scandal.

While Lerner faced minimal consequences for her wide-ranging role in the scandal — she refused to reveal much of anything to congressional investigators — The Weekly Standard pointed out that she received $129,000 in bonuses and a yearly pension that could top $100,000.

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2017/01/the-irs-scandal-day-1339house-gop-reactivates-holman-rule-would-have-permitted-reducing-lois-lerners.html

IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink

Comments

This idea is stupid: A committed ideologue would welcome being singled out this way. The GoFundMe appeal practically writes itself.

Posted by: AMTbuff | Jan 7, 2017 7:48:36 AM

Oh, HELL Yes!!!

Posted by: EndOfPatience | Jan 7, 2017 8:18:22 AM

2.1 million civil servants? LOL... They sure steal a lot of money from us for being "servants"...

Posted by: Fisht | Jan 7, 2017 8:23:46 AM

How about the Lois Lerner rule -- any Federal official who pleads the fifth in Congressional testimony loses their pension.

Posted by: SomeGuy | Jan 7, 2017 9:02:52 AM

Civil servant is an oxymoron. They are not civil and view themselves as our masters, not our servants.

Posted by: Seawriter | Jan 7, 2017 9:20:14 AM

I would like to see this in conjunction with an EO from Trump removing authorization for public unions. As I understand it, public unions are allowed because of am EO by JFK, so it would be totally with Trump's power to remove that authorization.

Posted by: Rick Caird | Jan 7, 2017 9:36:01 AM

Why not just bill the IRS directly for the cost of all Congressional oversight investigations? Or shave their budget accordingly as they stonewall such investigations? Incentives do have an effect, eventually...

Posted by: MM | Jan 7, 2017 10:54:53 AM

Since they didn't correct themselves. Congress has to over react. I wish it didn't have to be so. Why didn't the IRS correct itself?

Posted by: Chris Hendrickson | Jan 7, 2017 2:16:20 PM

Mr. Caird: Your understanding is flawed. The right to organize and bargain collectively is statutory; it is not based on an EO. Federal unions are statutory. See 5 U.S.C. §§ 7101, et seq.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Jan 7, 2017 4:11:17 PM

Questioin for Professor Caron: Why is the Holman Rule not a Bill of Attainder? That would kill any action under Holman dead?

Posted by: Gregory Koster | Jan 7, 2017 6:26:59 PM

Mr. Koster: Because bills of attainder are criminal.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Jan 8, 2017 12:34:19 PM

Wouldn’t it be easier for Trump to rescind the Executive order that allows federal government unions?
http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=59075

Posted by: Cedric | Jan 16, 2017 8:29:42 AM