Employee Conduct Issues Are Not Considered When Prioritizing Overdue Background Reinvestigations
Friday, November 22nd, 2019 @ 3:23PM
CFEG reports that on November 6, 2019 the Treasury Inspector General For
Tax Administration (TIGTA) released a report on employee conduct issues which are not considered when prioritizing overdue background reinvestigations.
TIGTA reported that in 2009 the President issued an Executive Order (13488) requiring employees in moderate-risk positions to be periodically reinvestigated in order to ensure that they remain suitable for continued employment. Before the issuance of this executive order federal agencies were only required to conduct reinvestigations for employees in high-risk and national security positions. https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/auditreports/2020reports/202010002fr.pdf
After a series of rule changes in July, 2015 the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) implemented a final rule at 55 C.F.R § 1400 which requires a five-year reinvestigation for both national security and public trust positions not requiring access to classified information. The regulation requires a background reinvestigation every 5 years for employees in moderate risk positions. Positions at the IRS such as revenue agents, appeals officers and information technology specialist are among those that are of moderate risk. Every agency head is required to designate every position within the agency as either high, moderate or low risk for potential adverse impact on the efficiency or integrity of the Federal Service. https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/auditreports/2020reports/202010002fr.pdf
In June 2012, the IRS began initiating requests for background reinvestigations of moderate-risk employees. However, due to changes in the rules the IRS postponed its reinvestigations. TIGTA in its report found that as of October 1, 2017, 25,520 employees were overdue for moderate-risk background reinvestigations. TIGTA also found that the backlog presents a high risk to the IRS. TIGTA determined that 1,228 employees with overdue background reinvestigations were potentially not suitable for employment because of information revealed in public records. Of this group 148 employees had serious criminal issues since their last background investigation, such as violent behavior, driving under the influence, theft, fraud, sexual misconduct or drug-related issues that could affect their suitability for employment.
In February, 2018 the IRS completed a risk assessment to address the backlog of moderate-risk reinvestigations and found there to be 42,250 moderate-risk positions. As of September 12, 2019, the IRS reported that the number of reinvestigations forwarded to the OPM had increased to more than 21,000. https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/auditreports/2020reports/202010002fr.pdf
TIGTA analyzed the internal conduct records 3,019 IRS employees with overdue background reinvestigations who had cases of confirmed misconduct. Examples of these misconduct cases included absence without leave, violent behavior, driving under the influence, off-duty misconduct, sexual misconduct, falsification of documents, late-filed or unpaid taxes, criminal misconduct, and unauthorized access to taxpayer accounts. https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/auditreports/2020reports/202010002fr.pdf
TIGTA found that by not considering conduct information, the IRS may be focusing its limited resources on reinvestigating employees who present a lesser risk to the integrity of the IRS. In addition, TIGTA reported that if employees with known issues are not reinvestigated promptly, employees with potentially serious suitability issues may continue to be employed at the IRS, thus increasing the risk to taxpayer data and IRS employees, systems, and facilities.
TIGTA recommended that the Human Capital Officer work with the Office of Personnel Management to develop a risk-based method to prioritize the backlog of background reinvestigations. In its response, IRS management agreed with the recommendation and stated that the Office of Personnel Management is willing to evaluate the remaining backlogged inventory submitted by the IRS and consult with the IRS to determine prioritization of the most serious investigation cases. https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/auditreports/2020reports/202010002fr.pdf
In sum, this recent TIGTA report reflects that the IRS has allowed a backlog of overdue background reinvestigations of employees with confirmed misconduct such as absence without leave, violent behavior, driving under the influence, off-duty misconduct, sexual misconduct, falsification of documents, late-filed or unpaid taxes, criminal misconduct, and unauthorized access to taxpayer accounts. By allowing such a backlog of overdue background reinvestigations of employees, and especially those with confirmed misconduct, the IRS has increased the potential for adverse impact on the efficiency and integrity of service to the taxpayers and the IRS.
Posted by cfegov
Categories: IRS Agents Defraud Government And Receive Bonuses, IRS Agents Fail To File Personal Tax Returns, IRS Agents Owe Hundreds Of Millions In Upaid Taxes, IRS Employees Engage In Tax Refund Identity Fraud, IRS Employees Falsify Tax Forms, Theft of Government Property By IRS Employees