WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa has asked the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department to answer a detailed series of questions aimed at understanding why the IRS whistleblower office has been so slow in processing cases and making rewards. Grassley expressed his “extreme disappointment in the management of the program” in a letter to the agency.
“The IRS does not have a problem attracting whistleblowers,” Grassley said. “The IRS has a problem processing whistleblower information and compensating whistleblowers in a timely manner. I’m hearing frustration from whistleblowers, and my worst fears are coming true. The lack of progress is demoralizing whistleblowers, and they might stop coming forward. That would be a bad outcome for the taxpayers.”
Grassley’s latest inquiry was prompted in part by revelations that the director of the IRS whistleblower program was a panelist at the Offshore Alert Conference at the Ritz-Carlton in Miami Beach. “It seems the whistleblower office director’s time might be better spent reviewing hundreds of existing cases instead of attending a conference that isn’t directed at potential whistleblowers,” Grassley said.
Grassley wrote to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to seek a status update on several benchmarks that would indicate progress in the whistleblower program. The letter is the latest step in Grassley’s oversight of the whistleblower office.
Grassley wrote the 2006 law improving the IRS whistleblower office. He modeled the improvements after the successful 1986 whistleblower amendments to the federal False Claims Act, which have brought back more than $30 billion to the federal treasury and deterred even more fraudulent activity.
The text of Grassley’s latest letter is available here.
The text of Grassley’s September 2011 letter to the IRS is available here. The IRS’ November 2011 response is available here.
The text of Grassley’s letter to the Treasury secretary in June 2010 is available here. The IRS response in November 2010 is available here.