The US Patent and Trademark Office isn’t the only federal agency that pays “workers” big bucks to do nothing. Taxpayers are spending $156 million for employees throughout the federal government who don’t do much of anything related to their official job description, according to Nathan Mehrens, president of Americans for Limited Government. As’s Kenric Ward reports:

At the IRS, 286 full-time staffers worked exclusively for the National Treasury Employees Union while receiving government paychecks in 2012 (the latest year for which statistics were available).

Mehrens’ group exposed several other agencies that fully fund union business with public money. These include:

Veterans Affairs. The scandal-scarred VA has more than 250 employees working full-time for the American Federation of Government Employees, the National Association of Government Employees, the National Federation of Federal Employees and the Service Employees International Union.

“At least one of these 250 doesn’t even report to work at a department facility, but rather ‘teleworks’ from a private AFGE office in D.C.,” Mehrens noted.

Department of Transportation. Some 35 DOT employees exclusively on “official time” receive average annual salaries of $138,000. Some receive more than $170,000.

Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA pays more than $1.6 million per year to employees who work for their union full-time.

National Labor Relations Board. The NLRB has two employees working for their union full-time. Each makes more than $100,000 per year.

Thanks to collective bargaining agreements, these unionized workers do union work, not work for their respective federal agencies.

 “If government unions want to have their own paid employees, that’s their prerogative,” Mehrens told Watchdog. “As things stand now, it’s a vicious circle that increases cost of government.”