Say an employee royally failed the biggest project of their career. They were understandably fired for it. But then, another department at the same company hired them on to do a similar project.

Would you be more likely to see it as a generous second chance – or say, “Wait a minute. What’s going on?”

That’s just what happened with CGI Federal, a Canadian IT company that was fired by the Department of Health and Human Services its role in the botched launch of HealthCare.Gov. Massachusetts and Vermont also fired CGI for its bad work on their state exchanges. But the IRS turned around and hired them “to provide critical technology services” for administrating the Affordable Care Act – a $4.5 million contract.

Two Congressional Committees think there’s something weird going on. The House Ways and Means Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform are both investigating how and why the IRS awarded the contract to CGI Federal.

Oversight Subcommittee Peter Roskam sent a letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen asking for the contract itself and all other documents related to the decision, including emails and names of those who had a say in the hire. He also asked for “a description of the controls the IRS has in place for this project to ensure that the problems associated with and the state exchange websites do not arise with this project.”

“Given your publicly-stated concerns about resource challenges at the IRS,” Roskam wrote, “I am seeking assurance that taxpayer dollars are being put to their highest and best use.”

The IRS has issued statements justifying the contract, but given the agency’s less-than-stellar track record with honesty, Roskam wants to see the actual documents. He set a deadline of February 6 for the information to be handed over.

The pressure is on for the IRS this year, the first time it will be processing returns with Obamacare subsidies and need to enforce fees for those who don’t have health insurance. Instead of rising to the challenge, they’ve been making a lot of noise about how they probably won’t do a great job this year because their funds were cut.

And in what could be the most confusing year for taxpayers so far, the IRS is refusing to answer any questions about Obamacare or healthcare-related questions. They’ve adopted a “web-only” strategy for anyone who needs information about how Obamacare will impact their taxes.

Nina Olson, the U.S. Taxpayer Advocate, warned that the plan included “limiting taxpayers’ access to in-person assistance with tax-related health care questions.” This strategy makes the agency’s IT even more crucial, and the hire of CGI Federal even more concerning.

There’s a time for second chances, but this isn’t that time. Right now, it’s time for the IRS to hire someone who does a good job.

Photo Credit: txking /

About The Author

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.

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