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IRS Staffers Name DC Officials Behind Targeting

From the Wall Street Journal:

IRS Staff Cite Washington Link

Two Workers Tell Congress That Agency Officials Helped Direct Tea-Party Reviews


Two Internal Revenue Service employees in the agency’s Cincinnati office told congressional investigators that IRS officials in Washington helped direct the probe of tea-party groups that began in 2010.

Want to bet these are the two ‘rogue’ employees who were originally slated to be the scapegoats?

Transcripts of the interviews, viewed Wednesday by The Wall Street Journal, appear to contradict earlier statements by top IRS officials, who have blamed lower-level workers in Cincinnati.

Elizabeth Hofacre said her office in Cincinnati sought help from IRS officials in the Washington unit that oversees tax-exempt organizations after she started getting the tea-party cases in April 2010. Ms. Hofacre said Carter Hull, an IRS lawyer in Washington, closely oversaw her work and suggested some of the questions asked applicants.

"I was essentially a front person, because I had no autonomy or no authority to act on [applications] without Carter Hull’s influence or input," she said, according to the transcripts.

Yes, that would appear to contradict the earlier statements made by top IRS officials — and the White House.

The interview transcripts suggest it began with a search for tea-party groups by name among applications from groups seeking tax-exempt status. The Cincinnati employee who conducted the search, Gary Muthert, said he started gathering applications in March 2010, at the request of an unidentified local manager, who allegedly told him that "Washington, D.C., wanted some cases," according to the transcripts

The cases were handed off to Ms. Hofacre the following month, according to the interviews, which were conducted jointly by the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee. Both Republican and Democratic investigators participated in the interviews.

The Democrats were there to intimidate the whistleblowers, no doubt.

Ms. Hofacre said she was outraged last month when IRS higher-ups, including Lois Lerner, then the head of the IRS tax-exempt division, blamed the problem on employees in Cincinnati. "I was furious," Ms. Hofacre told interviewers. "It looked like Lois Lerner was putting it on us."

Mr. Muthert, Ms. Hofacre and Ms. Lerner didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. The IRS didn’t respond to a request for comment…

In March 2010, Mr. Muthert was among the first IRS employees to start selecting and setting aside the tea-party applications for extra scrutiny, according to the transcripts.

In his interview with congressional investigators, he said a local manager—whose name was redacted in the transcripts—asked him to find all the tea-party applications in the office’s files, both pending and closed. The manager asked him to use the phrase "tea party" to conduct the search.

Around the same time, the local manager "said Washington, D.C., wanted seven" cases, Mr. Muthert said in the transcript. That month, he said, he "batched up" seven of the cases for "EO Technical," a unit of the Exempt Organizations Division in Washington, then headed by Ms. Lerner, according to his interview.

Around May of 2010, Mr. Muthert said, another local official asked him to locate a couple more applications to send to Washington. Over the next two months, Mr. Muthert said, he located about 40 tea-party cases after expanding his search to include the terms "patriot" and "9/12."

Ms. Hofacre said in her interview that she was in charge of the tea-party cases from the end of April until October. She was told by a Cincinnati employee, who wasn’t identified in the transcripts, to get in touch with the Exempt Organizations Technical unit in Washington, for guidance on the roughly 40 to 60 cases she was handling.

Ms. Hofacre said Mr. Hull, the IRS attorney in Washington, emailed her letters that he had already sent to two tea-party applicants. She was instructed to use those letters as a "foundation to prepare and review my cases and prepare my letters" to applicants, she said. She said she found the intervention by Mr. Hull "demeaning," according to the transcripts.

Mr. Hull also suggested questions to applicants, she said, and she was told to send him all the responses.

"All I remember saying and thinking is, ‘This is ridiculous,’" she said. "Because at the same time, you are getting calls from irate taxpayers. And I see their point. Even if a decision isn’t favorable, they deserve some kind of treatment and they deserve, you know, timeliness, and…these applications and their responses were just being sent up there [to Washington] and I am not sure what was happening."

At another point during the interview she complained she was "being micromanaged to death, and it was just really frustrating." In part because of her experience, she asked for and was given a transfer that she said amounted to a promotion in the fall of 2010…

They probably thought they had bought her silence with that promotion.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, June 6th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “IRS Staffers Name DC Officials Behind Targeting”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    Hang on to yore biscuits, Momma. They’s naming names!

  2. canary says:

    so? Who will be hired to go over billions of phone calls?

    Daily Caller has some of the IRS letters some of the letters. Click on click at the top to go to next batch and click to enlarge.


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