Rep. Issa Questions Plan to Pay Government Workers for Government Property

Maybe when you print money all day, it becomes easier to spend.

A Republican congressman is taking a hard look at a program in the Bureau of Engraving and Printing that would give hundreds of senior employees $75 gift cards in exchange for their printers, which the government already owns.

"It's absurd and demeaning that managers would offer employees gift cards for the simple act of returning office property," Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., ranking Republican on the House Oversight Committee, said in a written statement Tuesday.

Issa wants to know why the bureau is not asking employees to return the printers for free and has written a letter to Director Larry Felix demanding an explanation.

"I'm going to need your assistance in helping me understand why your agency needs to spend in excess of $40,000 to recover its own property," he wrote.

The Washington Post reported that the bureau created the incentive program because it wanted to cut down on printer use to save money.

The article said at least 534 employees have individual printers. The gift cards were offered as a way to induce those who might otherwise be possessive about the printers to give them up and use a network printer.

But Issa questioned the logic in that.

"If collecting printers will save taxpayers money, the government shouldn't have to bribe federal employees to do it," he said.

Bureau spokeswoman Claudia Dickens told that the bureau would respond to Issa but offered no explanation for the incentive program.

"We are researching it and preparing a response," she said. "I can't say anything about it at this point."