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McCaskill Asks Watchdog to Examine Effectiveness of Bonuses to Highly Paid ‘SES’ Federal Employees

Senator continues scrutiny of taxpayer-funded bonus payments for federal Senior Executive Service employees

September 25, 2013

WASHINGTON -U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill has called on the federal government's top watchdog to assess the effectiveness of taxpayer-funded performance-based bonuses currently being awarded to highly paid Senior Executive Service (SES) employees.

McCaskill, a former Missouri State Auditor, previously introduced bipartisan legislation to stop the awarding of bonuses to SES employees during budget cuts from sequestration. McCaskill's letter urges the head of the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Gene Dodaro to take action after testimony at a recent Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing that raised questions about the Department of Homeland Security's allocation of bonuses to SES employees.

"There is ample evidence to suggest that performance bonuses have been issued by government departments and agencies to SES employees as a routine matter of course with little regard to actual performance," said McCaskill, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Financial & Contracting Oversight.

A recent report by McCaskill's oversight committee showed that the federal government spent more than $340 million on cash bonuses from 2008-2011 for SES employees. Additionally, nearly every member of the SES receives a bonus. In 2011, the federal government gave bonuses to 6,519 members of the SES, approximately 81% of all SES employees. The report is available on her website HERE.

"Most federal agencies lack sufficient, quantifiable metrics with which to determine whether SES employees are deserving of the bonuses that they receive, making oversight of the process difficult," McCaskill's letter reads.

McCaskill has also introduced legislation that would cut pay for members of Congress if federal employees are furloughed due to the sequester. McCaskill has been an outspoken advocate of greater accountability in government, having previously taken action to reduce government bonuses for those under active investigation for wrongdoing.

A copy of McCaskill's letter is available online, HERE.

Click HERE to read highlights of McCaskill's fight for stronger accountability in Washington.

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