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IRS puts two managers on leave – Plus the DorobekINSIDER’s 7 Stories

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:

The SEVEN stories that impact your life

  1. IRS puts two managers on leave for accepting free gifts and violating ethics rules. The Washington Post reports, the Internal Revenue Service, fighting political scandal and accusations of lavish spending, said Wednesday that it placed two managers on administrative leave for accepting free food and other gifts in violation of government ethics rules. Top IRS officials were notified of the misconduct three months ago by the Treasury Department inspector general, whose office discovered the gifts during an audit of a conference in Southern California in 2010, government sources said. But it was not until Tuesday night that Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel was made aware of the case.
  2. Meanwhile, an Internal Revenue Service official at the center of the agency’s latest scandal told lawmakers Thursday that an expensive conference held in 2010 conformed to existing rules, though he acknowledged it was not the best use of taxpayer money, reports the AP. The official, Faris Fink, said spending at the $4.1 million gathering should have been more closely scrutinized, and that new rules would prevent such a conference today.
  3. Concerns about the security of the data of tens of millions of veterans at the Veterans Affairs Department run deeper than just a lack of stringent controls over the agency’s systems certification process. Federal News Radio’s Jason Miller reports, lawmakers, inspector general auditors and a former VA chief information security officer say nation-state actors have been and continue to steal agency data, including emails from Secretary Eric Shinseki. And VA IT officials can’t say how much or what kind of information the hackers are taking because the bad actors are encrypting the data as it leaves the agency’s network.
  4. Two Republican senators raised concerns about Department of Veterans Affairs employees who spend all their federally paid work time on union activities at a time when the agency is trying to plow through a massive claims backlog. The Washington Post reports, Sen. Tom Coburn (Okla.) and Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio) questioned the practice in a letter to VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki, asking how many employees spend 100 percent of their paid time on union-related work — known as “official time” — and whether the department has had to hire new employees to cover their formal job duties, among other details.
  5. A new inspector general report says the TSA’s five-year-old program to spot sketchy behavior is a failure. The IG says it’s neither objective nor strategic. TSA agrees with recommendations to develop a strategic plan, implement controls and retrain officers. But it may be too late. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the ranking member on the House Homeland Security Committee, has sponsored a measure to kill funding for the program. He cites a history of racial profiling allegations and a lack of measurable results. TSA has spent $1 billion on the program. About 5 percent of transportation security officers work on it.
  6. The Office of Personnel Management’s processing of pension claims fell 19 percent in May — the first full month since the agency halted all overtime in its retirement services division, reports Federal Times.
  7. And on GovLoop: Here is a staggering stat: 130 millions Americans own a smartphone, including roughly 1 out of 2 adults. That’s a technology that wasn’t even around 5 years ago. So how can government leverage this technology to connect, engage and empower government employees and the general public? Tune in to find out with the DorobekINISDER LIVE panel on June 26th at noon ET. Register for the free online webinar now.

DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder

  • Wired:CIA Releases Analyst’s Fascinating Tale of Cracking the Kryptos Sculpture
  • It took eight years after artist Jim Sanborn unveiled his cryptographic sculpture at the CIA’s headquarters for someone to succeed at cracking Kryptos’s enigmatic messages. In 1998, CIA analyst David Stein cracked three of the sculpture’s four coded messages after spending 400 hours diddling over the problem with paper and pencil during many lunch breaks. Read the full report!
  • NYMag: Jack Lew’s Terrible Signature Is Yearning to Break Free

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