A recent story by the Washington Free Beacon based on a report by the federal Office of Personnel Management indicates that, in 2014, the latest year the statistic is available, federal government employees spent nearly 3.5 million hours doing union business. The cost was $162.5 million for non-governmental work activity that apparently counted toward the employees’ bonus and retirement pension credits. The time, which is euphemistically called “official time,” can be recorded as work time even though there is no managerial control or tracking of how the time is spent. This has been authorized since the passage of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, but in March, Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA), introduced the Official Time Reform Act in an attempt to put some constraints on the practice. According to Rep. Hice, in one year the Department of Veterans Affairs paid full salaries to 300 employees who spent 100 percent of their time working on union business and none — zero — on their official government jobs. The House Oversight and Reform Committee on March 10 approved the legislation on a largely party-line vote. The legislation now goes to the House floor for a vote at an undetermined time.