A stunning inspector general report found that the IRS has rehired hundreds of employees with records of bad performance, some of which were known to be tax cheats.

Of the rehired employees, 141 botched their own tax returns. Eleven were found to have obtained unauthorized taxpayer information while working at the IRS. Another five willfully didn’t file their taxes, yet the IRS rehired them anyway.

Another employee that was rehired took eight weeks of unauthorized vacation time, and his/her previous manager wrote a note which said, “Do not rehire.”

The IRS says it doesn’t believe it has the legal authority to judge people based on their tax performance, but the inspector general says it should ask for that authority, the Washington Times’ Stephen Dinan told Greta Van Susteren tonight.

Watch his interview above, and read part of his report below:

“Rehiring prior employees with known conduct and performance issues presents increased risk to the IRS and taxpayers,” [Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George] said.

Most rehired employees don’t have any problems, and the IRS does a good job of weeding out those with criminal records or history of drug use, but the agency doesn’t give much credence to the workers’ rule-breaking during their previous stints at the IRS.

In its official response to the report, the IRS said it follows the current guidelines from the Office of Personnel Management and believes it already has the ability to handle these cases, saying its current process can weed out bad actors.

“IRS has fully evaluated this recommendation and determined its current process is more than adequate to mitigate any risks to American taxpayers, federal agencies and its employees,” Daniel T. Riordan, an agency Human Capital Officer, said in a reply memo. “IRS already fully considers prior conduct and performance issues before the final job offer is issued to all new hires.”

Mr. George said that didn’t explain why so many troublesome applicants were rehired and why nearly 20 percent of them have further performance issues during their new stints.

He also said the IRS seemed concerned that it could be breaking the law if it looked at a potential hire’s past behavior problems.