Eye Opener: Threats against IRS workers continue
Happy Wednesday! Threats against Internal Revenue Service workers and facilities continue to pour in following last month's plane crash at agency offices in Austin.
IRS watchdogs are investigating more than 70 reported instances of inappropriate comments made to agency workers by taxpayers, union officials said earlier this week.
Despite earlier reports suggesting it was 70 actual threats, National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen M. Kelley clarified on Wednesday that workers have received a mix of inappropriate comments -- including jokes or statements of support for pilot A. Joseph Stack III -- and more serious threats. Kelley said she learned of the threats from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, which tracks threats against IRS workers.
Neither TIGTA nor the IRS would confirm an actual number of threats or share details of ongoing investigations.
“TIGTA is actively and aggressively investigating all threats made against IRS employees, infrastructure and property,” said J. Russell George, the treasury inspector general for tax administration.
IRS workers are instructed to report threats made against them to TIGTA immediately. The watchdog has established a toll-free hotline, e-mail address and internal messaging system for workers to quickly report potential threats.
“It would be a little naïve to think that we don’t get some threats over the course of doing business," said IRS Communications Director Terry Lemons.
As The Eye has reported previously, attacks and threats against IRS workers and facilities happen frequently and are not confined to the annual tax filing season. The most recent attack at the Austin offices comes amid a wave of attacks at government and military facilities in the last six months.
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• Question of the Week: If you're a federal worker, do you feel safe at your place of work? If you're not a federal worker, do you feel that nearby federal facilities are well protected? Send your responses to firstname.lastname@example.org and please include your full name, hometown, the agency for which you work. Your thoughts may be used in Friday's Washington Post.
• 'Census mailer' bill passes: The House unanimously passed a bill Wednesday that bans misleading mailings that appear to be from the U.S. Census Bureau, picking up full Republican support even though GOP political committees have sent such forms. The bill requires any mailing with the word "census" on the forms or envelope to state the sender's name and address and a disclaimer that the mailing is not affiliated with the federal government. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) vowed to move the bill through the Senate as the government prepares to send census forms to American households next week.
• Cabinet and Staff News: Finding the inner Timothy Geithner. Hillary Rodham Clinton widens her circle at the State Department. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. plans to testify to the Senate Judiciary Committee later this month. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius tells insurers it's not too late to work together. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke joins President Obama in Washington today for his speech on boosting exports. Alan Greenspan to get grilled by financial recovery panel. OMB Deputy Director Jeffrey Zients fires up the troops to change federal hiring.
U.S. CAPITOL POLICE:
• Hill unhappy with Capitol Police: Lawmakers are warning the chief that a $5.5 million budget miscalculation could cost him control of his own department’s budget.
• Air Force requests funds for new nuclear armed cruise missile: It plans to spend more than $800 million to add the weapon to its bomber aircraft.
• Security company accused of animal neglect: The Navy says three dogs died and 46 others were in poor health after being neglected by a private firm in Chicago that had been hired to train the dogs to detect explosives.
• 168,000 DOD employees may transfer to new pay systems by September: The new director of the National Security Personnel System transition office said transitions will begin in May, after all offices with NSPS employees finish upgrading their software to handle the switch.
• Push to cure rare diseases: Agency officials go to new legnths to encourage applications for orphan-drug status.
• Agencies finding it hard to follow through on open government order: Experts said drafting open government plans with long-term steps for improving transparency, and soliciting public feedback will be harder and take months to complete.
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY:
• Use of private security guards at government buildings comes under scrutiny: Poor job security and the potential dangers that come with protecting government buildings make it a risky line of work, said guards interviewed this week.
• Condor lays egg in national park: Biologists at Pinnacles National Monument in central California are celebrating it as the first egg laid by a mating pair inside the park in more than a century.
• State Dept. to launch internal social site: "State Book" is a natural addition to the many online activities launched by State in the past few years, according to Foggy Bottom's e-diplomacy director.
• Overworked U.S. Embassy in Kabul straining to meet administration's demands: The embassy's work last year was particularly notable, the report said, because it took place amid an almost 100 percent turnover in staff, Afghanistan's troubled presidential election and the months-long White House strategy review in the fall.
• Relief for furloughed DOT workers?: If you are among the nearly 2,000 Transportation Department employees who were furloughed last week, help is on the way.
| March 11, 2010; 6:05 AM ET
Categories: Eye Opener
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