Former IRS official Lois Lerner received $129,300 in bonuses between 2010 and 2013, records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show.
Over a three-year period, Lerner, the head of the tax-exempt division at the heart of the IRS targeting scandal, received a 25 percent retention bonus—averaging $43,000 a year—on top of her regular salary.
The federal government uses retention bonuses to incentivize valuable employees who are considering retirement or private sector jobs to stay at their agencies.
Former acting IRS commissioner Steven T. Miller recommended Lerner for a $42,000 retention bonus in December 2009, when she first became eligible for retirement.
“Ms. Lerner is eligible for retirement and as an attorney with extensive experience would likely command a much greater pay and benefits if she left the Service,” Miller wrote. “Without a retention incentive she will leave the Service.”
Miller said that there was no senior official ready to take over the position if Lerner left, and that “her unique blend of specialized technical expertise, broad organizational knowledge, and leadership skills cannot be matched.”
Joseph Grant, the deputy commissioner of the tax-exempt division, approved the bonus. The second-level review of Lerner’s retention bonus was approved by Miller himself.
Both officials signed off on annual renewals for Lerner’s retention bonus in 2011 and 2012. Both officials would also later resign in connection with the targeting scandal.