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Sen. Grassley challenges IRS over claim $70M in bonuses was mandatory

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March 18, 2013: Senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, speaks at a committee hearing on immigration reform on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP)

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is slamming the embattled IRS for claiming it was required to dole out $70 million in bonuses to union employees -- when a contract from March, he said, states that is not the case.

Grassley on Wednesday night released a document the IRS sent to the National Treasury Employees Union on March 25, in which the agency informed the union they would be permitted to eliminate the bonuses to union employees due to sequestration.

However, the IRS has since claimed it was “legally obligated” to continue to provide the bonuses.

“It seems that either the IRS’s plans changed or the agency is more than a little mixed up on these payments,” Grassley said.

Grassley has been pushing the agency for information as to why they have continued to provide the bonuses, particularly in light of the controversy over its targeting of conservative groups.

The White House Office of Management and Budget issued a directive to all government agencies in April asking them to stop all discretionary bonuses due to the sequestration budget cuts.

“The public deserves a full explanation, and I’m working to get it from the IRS,” Grassley said.