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Sen. Ayotte seeks bonus block for federal employee disciplinary problems


WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire is co-sponsoring bipartisan legislation to prohibit paying bonuses to federal employees with conduct problems that include nonpayment of federal taxes.

“Federal employees who have disciplinary problems or who haven’t paid their taxes shouldn’t be getting bonuses,” Ayotte, a Republican, said in a statement. “This bipartisan legislation takes common sense steps to prevent workers with serious conduct infractions from receiving bonus pay.”

Ayotte is sponsoring the bill with U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. The bill comes after revelations that $2.8 million was paid in bonuses from 2010 to 2012 to 2,800 employees with conduct violations.

About $1 million was paid to 1,100 Internal Revenue Service employees who were delinquent on their taxes, Ayotte’s office said in a release.

The bill would prohibit the head of an agency from awarding a bonus to an employee if the agency Inspector General, a senior ethics official of the agency, or the Government Accountability Office makes a determination that the employee’s conduct either violated agency policy for which the employee may be fired or suspended, or violated a law for which the employee may be imprisoned for more than one year. The bill would maintain the prohibition for 5 years.

The bill also includes a provision that the employee — after notice and an opportunity for a hearing — repay any bonus made during the year in which such a determination is made.

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