Congress Rips TSA for ‘Smurfing' Bonus Practices

Lawmakers accused the TSA of disguising a $90,000 bonus by dividing it in nine payments of $10,000

Lawmakers took the embattled Transportation Security Administration to task Thursday for giving an official a $90,000 bonus while the screeners he supervised failed a test to detect mock explosives and banned weapons, NBC News reported.

The TSA is accused of disguising the payment to Kelly Hoggan by dividing it in nine installments of $10,000 instead of one lump sum — a strategy known as "smurfing."

TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger said Hoggan was awarded the bonus under his predecessor and agreed that the bonus was not justifiable, "period." He also said he's put in a system of checks to make sure this doesn't happen again.

But, when asked if he planned to fire Hoggan, who makes $181,500 as the TSA's assistant administrator for the office of security administrations, Neffenger said no.

Rep. John Mica, who helped create the federal agency that safeguards U.S. airports and now favors privatizing the TSA, conceded that reforming the agency is a tall order.

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