A Senator is seeking more information on the matter of some bonuses given to a federal employee via smurfing. The Senator is against the provision of offering extra bonuses to the federal employees as it violates the law. The Senator took up this matter with the OPM and wants to know whether any other government agencies are paying extra bonuses to the employees.
Are Federal Employees Being Paid Extra Bonuses?
The incident of offering extra bonuses to federal employees came into light when Senator Claire McCaskill sought information from the OPM and asked why a TSA employee was paid extra bonuses that exceed the amount the employee was entitled to receive as per the law. The information was sought via a formal letter.
The letter was written by Senator McCaskill when she learned about the reports that state that extra bonuses were paid to the former head of security for TSA, Kelly Hoggan. The bonuses were paid by using a special technique known as “smurfing” in which the particular financial transactions are broken into something below the reporting requirement so that they can be masked. It is pertinent to add here that Hoggan received the extra bonuses when the news of security problems and delays at TSA were spreading like fire.
The Money and the Discrepancy
The letter written by Senator McCaskill to OPM Acting Director clearly mentions that Hoggan received $90,000 in bonus payments in 13 months. She mentioned that this incident is a clear violation. She also added that as per the federal law, the SES bonuses must not exceed the 20% of an employee’s base salary and they must be paid in a lump sum. If the 20% base salary factor is considered in this incident then Hoggan’s salary would have had to be more than $450,000 per year.
No Excess Bonuses
Senator McCaskill also opined that the federal employees must not be receiving bonuses in a clandestine manner and the amount of the bonuses must never exceed the 20% cap that is mentioned in the law. She also expressed concerns over the fact that other agencies might be doing the same thing that the TSA did with Hoggan. Hence, she has requested OPM to provide details on the number of federal workers that received bonuses that are over the 20% amount or the ones that are more than 10% of an agency’s base pay for senior executives.