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Unexpected Perks of Being a Government Bureaucrat

Friday May 8th, 2015   •   Posted by Craig Eyermann at 7:31am PDT   •  

2836429_S Every year, thousands of regular Americans are prosecuted by government prosecutors for the kinds of activities that, for government bureaucrats, would seem to be considered to be perks of being on the federal government’s payroll.

For example, in 2012, the most recent year for which the FBI provides arrest statistics, there were 7,900 arrests on charges related to gambling and another 56,600 arrests on charges related to prostitution and commercialized vice. According to the Department of Defense’s Office of Inspector General, a number of military and civilian employees of the Department of Defense are using their government-issued credit cards to gamble and to pay for “adult entertainment,” including “escort services.” The government plans to deal with the misconduct of its employees by issuing “stern new warnings.”

Meanwhile, the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation unit has revealed that it initiated 4,297 cases against regular Americans it accuses of tax evasion and fraud in 2014, for which it boasts of having the highest conviction rate in all of federal law enforcement, with 93.4 percent of all filed cases resulting in convictions, with penalties on the convicted ranging from fines to imprisonment. According to the Department of the Treasury’s Inspector General, over the 10-year period from October 2003 through September 2013, no fewer than 960 of the 1,580 IRS employees who were determined to have willfully violated U.S. tax laws were allowed to stay on the federal government payroll, receiving “counseling, reprimands or suspensions” instead of being sacked from their jobs as required by a 1998 law.

In 2014, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission processed 88,778 charges of workplace discrimination against American businesses, which resulted in $296.1 million in fines and legal settlements for the victims of such misconduct. By contrast, the staffers of the Environmental Protection Administration, who have a long history of alleged serious workplace discrimination continued to evade accountability for this kind of misconduct, as the EPA’s managers and senior leadership failed to act to fire employees who have engaged in workplace discrimination, where incidents include long-standing episodes of sexual harassment of interns and also employees who watch pornography on government computers for up to six hours a day on the job. The EPA’s management also has a history of concealing evidence of misconduct and illegally retaliating against whistleblowers who expose its employees’ misconduct.

It would seem that federal officials show quite a lot of prosecutorial discretion when federal employees are the ones accused of misconduct. And we haven’t even mentioned the newest in a series of scandals at the Department of Veterans Affairs in this latest episode of our ongoing series, Bureaucrats Behaving Badly.

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May 2015