Hill Awards Golden Fleece to Internal Revenue Service for Poor Management of Economic Impact Payments

WASHINGTON D.C. — Rep. French Hill (AR-02) named the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as the latest recipient of the Golden Fleece Award for sending CARES Act Economic Impact Payments to foreign workers living in the United States and $1.4 billion to the deceased.

"My office has dozens of cases open with the IRS for central Arkansans that have still not received their Economic Impact Payment. It is unacceptable that the IRS has sent these payments to non-U.S. citizens and deceased individuals while many Arkansans remain left out in the cold," said Rep. Hill. "The IRS needs to right this mess and ensure that CARES Act payments are going to the right people."

In the letter to the Commissioner of the IRS, Charles Rettig, Rep. Hill wrote:

The Honorable Charles P. Rettig
Internal Revenue Service
1111 Constitution Ave NW
Washington, DC 20224-0001

Dear Commissioner Rettig:

I write today to inform you that your agency is the most recent recipient of my Golden Fleece Award. I am awarding the Golden Fleece to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for distributing Economic Impact Payments (EIP) to individuals not eligible for EIP.

Specifically, according to an August 5, 2020 report by National Public Radio (NPR), “[t]housands of foreign workers who entered the U.S. on temporary work visas received $1,200 [eip] checks in error during the first round of stimulus payments,” and it was reported that the exact amount of payments sent to foreign workers is “difficult to quantify.” Section 2201 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act established the EIP and established qualifications that only citizens and resident aliens would be eligible for an EIP. Foreign workers on temporary work visas would not meet this requirement.

This is distressing news when considering in light of the fact that, in June, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that “Treasury and the [irs] sent almost 1.1 million payments totaling nearly $1.4 billion to deceased individuals.” When we are in the midst of a pandemic that is causing intense strain on our economy, our federal agencies must be good stewards of taxpayer dollars. These recent reports raise concerns about your agency’s ability to properly distribute CARES Act EIPs without billions of dollars continuing to be sent out in error.

This is distressing also because numerous central Arkansans, the very individuals for whom we created this important EIP program, have not yet received their EIP, while non-qualifying individuals have. Further, to add insult to injury, your agency has not responded to me and my Congressional delegation colleagues from Arkansas’s requests to assist our constituents. This is unacceptable. I encourage your agency to improve its distribution of EIPs to qualifying Americans and to prevent improper payments of any kind.

Should you require any additional authority from Congress to address these concerns, I urge you to notify us as soon as possible. I thank you for your consideration and look forward to working with you to address this important issue.

French Hill
Member of Congress

To view the letter, click HERE.

About the Golden Fleece Award

Every year, Congress appropriates trillions of dollars to fund the federal government, and every year the federal government wastes portions of these funds in unconscionable ways. In an attempt to increase accountability for every single government program, Congressman Hill decided to bring back the Golden Fleece Award.

Originally introduced by Democratic U.S. Senator from Wisconsin William Proxmire in March 1975, the Golden Fleece Award was a monthly bulletin on the most frivolous and wasteful uses of hardworking taxpayers’ dollars. The Golden Fleece Award became a staple in the U.S. Senate during this time, and Senator Robert Byrd once stated that the awards were “as much a part of the Senate as quorum calls and filibusters.”

In reviving this idea, the Golden Fleece Award will again have the opportunity to serve as an important reminder to taxpayers about the need for necessary, commonsense reforms to our federal spending.

Keep In Touch

Please sign up below to receive my weekly newsletter and get the latest news and updates directly to your inbox.