IRS commissioner describes bleak picture for underfunded agency

‘Abysmal’ customer service and declining, older workforce pose problems for collections.

    The Federal Eye

    GSA official at center of Las Vegas conference scandal pleads guilty to fraud

    Former GSA official Jeffrey E. Neely admitted that he submitted a claim for casino lodging that he knew was not for official business.

      SEC says confidentiality agreements may have ‘muzzled’ whistleblowers at top government contractor

      The ruling sends a powerful signal to corporations that the improper use of confidentiality agreements will result in civil fines and possible criminal penalties.

        IRS suffering from staffing, customer service woes

        IRS chief says “abysmal” customer service and a declining, older workforce pose problems for collections and efficiency.

          Bureau of Prisons manager tried moving whistleblower’s office to old jail cell

          That’s one of two cases of inappropriate whistleblower transfers that the Office of Special Counsel brought to light.

            Holder announces new limits on civil asset forfeitures

            Under the new policy, federal authorities will only seize bank accounts when serious illegal transactions have been documented.

              The Federal Diary

              IRS commissioner describes bleak picture for underfunded agency

              ‘Abysmal’ customer service and declining, older workforce pose problems for collections.

              GOP budget plan has a surprise among list of cuts for federal employees

              In this March 17, 2015, photo, House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga. holds-up a synopsis of the House Republican budget proposal as he announces the plan on Capitol Hill in Washington. The new House and Senate Republican boast that they both balance the federal budget within 10 years, without raising taxes. Their own numbers, however, say millions of American families and businesses would have to pay more in taxes to make the math work. To the tune of about $900 billion more over the next decade. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

              Budget proposals could lead to cuts not just for feds but also to the services they provide taxpayers.

              House panel shows bipartisan support for federal workplace bills

              WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 19:  House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) (R) and ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) arrive for a hearing about the Department of Homeland Security's policies regarding apprehension, detention and release of illegal immigrants in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill March 19, 2015 in Washington, DC. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Sarah Saldana faced aggressive questioning about her agencies policy of discretion in releasing people convicted of misdemeanors and felonies.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

              Committee approves bills on seasonal workers, porn, equal employment and tax delinquents.

              In the Loop

              U.S. ambassador to South Korea writes first blog post since getting slashed in the face

              Mark Lippert is back on the job.

              Santorum: ISIS better journalism than New York Times?

              Rick Santorum was quoted accurately by ISIS.

              With trip to Utah, Obama has only one state left to hit all 50

              To make it to all 50 states, Obama will only need South Dakota.

              Fine Print

              Separating fact from fiction in Iraq and Yemen

              An Iraqi soldier searches a for fighters of Islamic State group in Tikrit, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, March 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

              To understand what’s going on, it’s important for Americans to distinguish reality from propaganda.

              How Congress is doing an end run around sequestration

              WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 18:  U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter testifies during a House Armed Services Committee  hearing on 'The President's Proposed Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against ISIL and the FY2016 National Defense Authorization Budget Request from the Department of Defense,' on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. President Obama has requested authorization for U.S. military operations in Iraq and Syria against ISIS from Congress. (Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images)

              By stuffing a contingency account, lawmakers can have both defense cuts and more defense spending.

              Critics jumping the gun on talks with Iran over nuclear agreement

              U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, listens to Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, right, before resuming talks over Iran's nuclear program in Lausanne, Switzerland, Monday, March 16, 2015. The United States and Iran are plunging back into negotiations in a bid to end a decades-long standoff that has raised the specter of an Iranian nuclear arsenal, a new atomic arms race in the Middle East and even a U.S. or Israeli military intervention. (AP Photo/Brian Snyder, Pool)

              McConnell, Cotton and others don’t believe there’s any need to give the effort a chance.

              The High Court

              Supreme Court to hear battle over Confederate license plates

              This image provided by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles shows the design of a proposed Sons of Confederate Veterans license plate. The Supreme Court on March 23, 2015, will weigh a free-speech challenge to Texas’ decision to refuse to issue a license plate bearing the Confederate battle flag. Specialty plates are big business in Texas, where drivers spent $17.6 million last year to choose from among more than 350 messages the state allows on the plates. (AP Photo/Texas Department of Motor Vehicles)

              Do specialty license plates reflect the free speech rights of states or individuals?

              Justices framing the question on gay marriage

              WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 16: A view of the Supreme Court, January 16, 2015 in Washington, DC. On Friday, the Supreme Court is meeting in closed conference to decide whether it will take up cases on the issues of same sex-marriage and marriage recognition from several states. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

              On Friday, they agreed to hear arguments and set the table for what some see as a narrowed focus.

              Judge candidates’ free-speech rights at issue before court

              The U.S. flag flies in front of the Supreme Court building at sunset in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014. Workers don't have a federal right to be paid for time spent in post-shift security searches, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a decision that will help Amazon Inc. fend off lawsuits seeking more than $100 million. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

              HIGH COURT | Justices will consider whether Florida’s ban on directly soliciting contributions holds water.

              High Court: A question of religious freedom

              HANDOUT PHOTO: Gregory Houston Holt, an Arkansas prison inmate, also known as Abdul Maalik Muhammad. According to his brief to the Supreme Court, he feels his Muslim faith requires him to follow this dictate: “Allah’s Messenger said, ‘Cut the moustaches short and leave the beard (as it is).’ “ (Courtesy of Arkansas Department of Corrections)

              Prisoner presses for right to grow a beard for his faith, but Arkansas officials raise security issues.

              High Court: Justice Anthony M. Kennedy and guns

              WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 8: Justice Anthony Kennedy pictured as the nine members of the Supreme Court pose for a new group photograph to reflect their newest member, Elena Kagan, October, 08, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

              Some see him as the middleman on the gun debate; neither side knows where he’s going to fall on the issue.

              The Federal Coach

              What makes good government leaders

              Being in a position of authority doesn’t mean you’re a leader.

              Using social media for your federal agency

              Snapchat isn't just for teens sharing texts anymore. News organizations are now turning to the app in hopes that it can become the next Twitter or Facebook. Photo by Linda D. Epstein for The Washington Post

              Some departments have harnessed these tools to improve their work with the public, while others are still struggling to figure them out.

              Working for equal opportunity

              Jenny Yang, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission chair, talks about what motivates her.

              Federal Player of the Week

              Jeremy Konyndyk: Responding to humanitarian crises worldwide

              Konyndyk is director of the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance at the USAID.

              Latest Federal News

              GSA official at center of Las Vegas conference scandal pleads guilty to fraud

              GSA official at center of Las Vegas conference scandal pleads guilty to fraud

              Former GSA official Jeffrey E. Neely admitted that he submitted a claim for casino lodging that he knew was not for official business.

              IRS suffering from staffing, customer service woes

              IRS suffering from staffing, customer service woes

              IRS chief says “abysmal” customer service and a declining, older workforce pose problems for collections and efficiency.

              Bureau of Prisons manager tried moving whistleblower’s office to old jail cell

              Bureau of Prisons manager tried moving whistleblower’s office to old jail cell

              That’s one of two cases of inappropriate whistleblower transfers that the Office of Special Counsel brought to light.

              Supreme Court says state Medicaid payments not open to private lawsuits

              Supreme Court says state Medicaid payments not open to private lawsuits

              The justices split, 5 to 4, with the court’s conservative judges siding with the Obama administration.

              Did you forget to join the fine Pelosi trip to five Asian countries?

              Did you forget to join the fine Pelosi trip to five Asian countries?

              Some of this week’s congressional travel doesn’t look all that appealing.

              Republicans take aim at union ‘official time’ for federal employees

              Republican bills in the House and Senate would end “official time,” which allows federal employees to deal with union work on the government dime.

              Jeremy Konyndyk: Responding to humanitarian crises worldwide

              Jeremy Konyndyk: Responding to humanitarian crises worldwide

              Konyndyk is director of the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance at the USAID.

              In death row case, Supreme Court looks for narrow ruling

              In death row case, Supreme Court looks for narrow ruling

              A Louisiana inmate argues that he didn’t get a hearing in state court to show that he is intellectually disabled.

              Column

              The very rich have more money. But do they really want to be ambassadors?

              The very rich have more money. But do they really want to be ambassadors?

              The fears of the merely wealthy, eager to earn postings at U.S. embassies, may be unfounded.

              Supreme Court asks Virginia panel to reexamine redistricting decision

              The state court had ruled in the fall that race was the predominate factor in drawing lines.

              Postal employee receives jail time for disability scam that lasted nearly seven years

              Postal employee receives jail time for disability scam that lasted nearly seven years

              The longtime mail carrier and handler pleaded guilty in November to making false statements about injuries that allowed her to collect federal-employee disability benefits.

              A surprise among list of GOP cuts for feds

              Budget proposals could lead to cuts not just for feds but also to the services they provide taxpayers.

              Democrat to call for the removal of Commerce Dept. inspector general

              Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (Tex.) will ask President Obama to fire Todd Zinser in the wake of a Hill probe.

              Lawmaker seeks ouster of Commerce Department inspector general

              Lawmaker seeks ouster of Commerce Department inspector general

              Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) plans to ask President Obama this week to remove the Commerce Department inspector general over a long string of alleged misconduct issues.

              Gov. Pence defends religious freedom bill amid continued criticism

              Gov. Pence defends religious freedom bill amid continued criticism

              Critics of the new law say it allows businesses to discriminate against gays by denying them service.

              Saudi ambassador: Conflict in Yemen is not a proxy war with Iran

              Saudi ambassador: Conflict in Yemen is not a proxy war with Iran

              The Saudi ambassador to the United States said his government is only acting to protect the Yemeni people and their legitimate government.

              White House hits back after Boehner’s criticism of Middle East stance

              White House hits back after Boehner’s criticism of Middle East stance

              White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the administration is working to achieve its goals with international partners and limited U.S. military involvement.

              Indiana governor says he is proud of state’s new ‘religious freedom’ law, which has been criticized as anti-gay

              Indiana governor says he is proud of state’s new ‘religious freedom’ law, which has been criticized as anti-gay

              Critics of the new law say it gives businesses a license to discriminate against gays by denying them service.

              Carly Fiorina ’90 percent’ likely to run for GOP presidential nomination

              Carly Fiorina ’90 percent’ likely to run for GOP presidential nomination

              The 2010 California gubernatorial candidate and former Hewlett-Packard CEO said she is “90 percent” likely to enter the race.

              Former intelligence official: Obama’s Middle East policy is ‘willful ignorance’

              Former intelligence official: Obama’s Middle East policy is ‘willful ignorance’

              Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn said recent developments in the Middle East are moving in a bad direction for the United States, with Iran “clearly on the march” to influence events in a “regional sectarian war.“

              How to trim deficits: Cut federal employee retirement and health care

              How to trim deficits: Cut federal employee retirement and health care

              A GOP plan would lower rates of return and increase the employee’s share of health costs.

              What makes good government leaders

              What makes good government leaders

              Being in a position of authority doesn’t mean you’re a leader.

              Why your dreams of a cushy ambassadorship can still come true

              Why your dreams of a cushy ambassadorship can still come true

              Billionaires’ big bucks for super PACs won’t freeze lesser campaign bundlers out of great jobs.

              Chief Justice Roberts to visit Japan after term ends

              Chief Justice Roberts to visit Japan after term ends

              This summer, Roberts will visit Japan at the invitation of his Japanese counterpart.

              Does the U.S. Postal Service have an unfair competitive advantage?

              Does the U.S. Postal Service have an unfair competitive advantage?

              An economic analysis found that USPS enjoys about $18 billion in special privileges and tax breaks from governments at the federal, state and local levels.

              Column

              Loretta Lynch to lead pack — going three White Houses back — of waiters

              Loretta Lynch to lead pack — going three White Houses back — of waiters

              President Obama’s nominee for attorney general will set the mark for waiting after Senate’s spring break.

              What else does Rep. Aaron Schock have in common with Lincoln?

              What else does Rep. Aaron Schock have in common with Lincoln?

              Did Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) know everything he had in common with Lincoln?

              Here’s how Virginia’s governor defends his Homeland Security lobbying: Just ‘raising heck’

              Here’s how Virginia’s governor defends his Homeland Security lobbying: Just ‘raising heck’

              Gov. Terry McAuliffe downplayed suggestions that he received special treatment, saying he was merely “raising heck” with a slow-moving Department of Homeland Security.

              The best congressional acronym ever -- well, at least of this week

              The best congressional acronym ever -- well, at least of this week

              Coming up with catchy titles for legislation is something congressional staffers love to do.

              Panel okays route to permanent federal jobs for firefighter temps

              Panel okays route to permanent federal jobs for firefighter temps

              House panel approves bill that allows seasonal federal workers to compete for full-time jobs.