By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org
WASHINGTON, D.C. — While Congress takes its five-week vacation, the hard partisan work continues at the National Treasury Employees Union, subsidized by taxpayers.
The Washington Times reported this week that the Internal Revenue Service provides government salaries, office space and equipment to NTEU operatives, who ostensibly represent 92,000 IRS employees.
The IRS’ deputy commissioner calculates these union workers spent 573,319 hours in 2012 on NTEU business. That’s the equivalent of 286 full-time employees doing nothing but union labor.
Additionally, the union spent $687,400 on travel — also on the taxpayers’ tab. And who can forget the $4.1 million Star Trek-themed “training” session in Las Vegas four years ago?
On top of the ongoing outlays of time and money, there’s the politics of it all.
Ninety-four percent of NTEU campaign contributions go to Democrats. For whatever reason, Republicans go along for the ride.
“The union naturally wants greater benefits, bigger salaries and more handsome bonuses, so Congress pays the union to do it,” the Times reported.
“With hundreds of thousands of dollars in the bank, union money will flow to candidates as needed to keep the Senate under Democratic control,” the Times predicted.
The union’s president is Colleen Kelley. She also is an Obama appointee to the Federal Salary Council, which advises the government on how much to pay federal employees.
Nathan Mehrens, president of Americans for Limited Government, said more than 200 IRS employees work on union business full-time.
“They’re not working for taxpayers. Instead, they’re working against the agency by bringing grievances and trying to increase the cost to taxpayers through collective bargaining agreements,” Mehrens told Watchdog.org.
“It’s a vicious cycle that increases the cost of government,” he said.
Amy Kremer, former chairman of the national Tea Party Express, told Watchdog: “I’ve always said that no taxpayer money should go to fund any union activity whatsoever, especially partisan politics. The fact that we already have the funny business going on at the IRS with the conservative targeting, those funds need to be cut off immediately.”
David Williams, president of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, calls the NTEU activity “a huge overreach of what the IRS should be doing.”
Drawing a distinction between private- and public-sector unions, Williams said people have choice in the private market. “There is only one IRS. If we don’t patronize the IRS, we get audited,” he said.
“Bottom line, this is a waste of taxpayer dollars. It’s shameful that Congress and the Obama administration allow this to happen.”
This article was updated at 1:27 p.m.
Kenric Ward is a national reporter for Watchdog.org and chief of the Virginia Bureau. Contact him at email@example.com or at (571) 319-9824. @Kenricward