Senators call IRS nominee 'unacceptable'

The nomination of a senior Treasury Department official to represent Internal Revenue Service employees on an oversight board has raised the ire of Senate Finance Committee Democrats and Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.).

In a letter to President Bush, nine senators — led by ranking committee member Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) — called the nomination of Donald Hammond, fiscal assistant secretary in the Office of the Under Secretary for Domestic Finance, “unacceptable” as a representative of employees on the IRS Oversight Board. They asked the president to reconsider.

The senators wrote that the nominee “should represent the views of the workers at IRS.” The IRS commissioner and Treasury secretary already represent management’s views on the board, the letter states.

In addition to Baucus and Jeffords, the letter is signed by Sens. John Rockefeller (D-W.Va), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).

The Oversight Board, which was created as part of the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998, reviews IRS operations and policies and makes recommendations for improvements, including on the agency’s budget.

The National Treasury Employees Union also opposes the nomination. Union President Colleen Kelley welcomed the senators’ opposition.

“IRS employees deserve a meaningful voice on this body,” she said in a press release. She said the language of the statute that establishes the board “refers to the appointment of either a rank-and-file IRS employee or employee representative.”

Bush announced Hammond’s nomination April 27, 2006.

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