U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government (FSGG), today offered an amendment to the FY 2013 FSGG Appropriations Bill that would prohibit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from using appropriated funds to contract out for public relations services. After spending $17.5 million in taxpayer dollars over the last 4 years on a marketing contract, the IRS is seeking to continue its PR efforts with a new contract worth up to $15 million over 4 years.
Sen. Moran received an agreement from FSGG Subcommittee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) that language will be included in the appropriations bill to prohibit use of taxpayer dollars to enhance the IRS' image, and the amendment was withdrawn.
"As the nation's tax collector, the IRS already has a relationship with every person in the country," Sen. Moran said. "It's hard to imagine that American taxpayers would be pleased to know the IRS is spending their money on promoting itself and its products. If the IRS genuinely wants to improve its image with Americans, it needs to work with Congress to develop a simpler, fairer tax code. Taxpayers waste far too much time and money each year filling out their tax returns, and our economy continues to suffer largely due to the uncertainty created by a convoluted, ever-changing tax system."
In February, the IRS sent a 49-page solicitation to 12 agencies, seeking a "full service communications and marketing company" to help convey its "corporate vision and goals." According to the IRS, the one-year contract could be extended for four additional years, with a total value of up to $15 million. The IRS previously used Washington, D.C. communications firm Porter Novelli, which was paid $17.5 million over four years -- the maximum amount allowed by law.