Hundreds of federal employees are working full-time for their unions rather than the agencies that pay their salaries.
At the IRS, 286 full-time staffers worked exclusively for the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) while collecting federal paychecks in 2012, the latest year for which statistics are available.
The IRS provides not only salaries but also office space and equipment to NTEU agents representing 92,000 IRS workers, the Washington Times reported.
The IRS deputy commissioner calculates that these union workers spent 573,319 hours on NTEU business that year, the equivalent of 286 full-time employees performing only union labor.
Taxpayers also shelled out $687,400 in travel expenses for the union operatives.
"The union naturally wants greater benefits, bigger salaries and more handsome bonuses, so Congress pays the union to do it," the Times reported.
More than 90 percent of NTEU campaign contributions go to Democrats, according to Kenric Ward, a reporter for Watchdog.org.
And the union's president is Colleen Kelley, an Obama appointee to the Federal Salary Council, which consults with the government on how much to pay federal workers.
"They're not working for taxpayers. Instead, they're working against the agency by bringing grievances and trying to increase the cost to taxpayers through collective bargaining agreements," Nathan Mehrens, president of Americans for Limited Government, told Watchdog.org, a project of the nonprofit Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity.
The IRS is not the only federal agency where employees work full time on union business.
At the Department of Veterans Affairs, more than 250 employees are working full time for one of four unions, according to Mehrens' organization.
At the Department of Transportation, 35 employees work exclusively for a union, some receiving annual salaries of more than $170,000.
The Environmental Protection Agency pays more than $1.6 million a year to employees who work full time for their union.
Altogether, "taxpayers spent around $156 million on federal employees who did no federal work at all" in 2012, Mehrens said.
Amy Kremer, former chair of the national Tea Party Express, told Watchdog: "I've always said that no taxpayer money should go to fund any union activity whatsoever, especially partisan politics."