The surprise decision this week by the Internal Revenue Service to reinstate its employee bonus system, to the tune of $62.5 million, was decried by five senators Thursday who called it an “insult to taxpayers.”

The Republican senators hit the IRS move as a violation of the public trust, especially as other agencies are facing budget cuts imposed by sequestration and the tax agency is still caught up in a scandal to silence conservative Tea Party critics of President Obama.

In a letter to new IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, the five wrote, “The American people are looking to the government to make responsible fiscal choices and use their taxpayer dollars in the most effective way. The IRS’s decision to spend $62.5 million on bonuses is a violation of the public’s trust. We strongly urge you to reconsider your decision.”

Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Orrin Hatch of Utah, Pat Roberts of Kansas, John Cornyn of Texas and Richard Burr of North Carolina added, “The IRS decision to issue bonuses is foolhardy and wasteful in such a challenging fiscal climate; further, it is particularly upsetting given the IRS's targeting of conservative groups applying for tax exempt status.”

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at