Updated 5:49 p.m. ET Friday 5/31
Washington (CNN) – The Internal Revenue Service has told House GOP investigators they have identified 88 IRS employees who may have documents relevant to the congressional investigation into targeting of conservative groups, according to a congressional source familiar with the investigation.
The IRS asked these employees to preserve all the "responsive documents" on their computers, and it has been in the process of collecting it all to comply with congressional requests for information. The IRS missed its May 21st deadline to turn over documents to the House Ways and Means Committee.
The same source said the IRS argues it missed its deadline because of the scope of documents it is collecting.
The request for documents was a bipartisan one, but Republicans are privately preparing to seize on the fact that if nearly 90 IRS employees may have been somehow involved in this targeting, it is evidence that the controversy extends well beyond the mistakes by a few low level employees.
However, with no documents in hand, there is no way to know how many of the employees being asked to preserve documents were truly involved in the activity in question. The IRS, in a statement to CNN, said the large number reflects its effort to ensure they are as responsive as possible to the Congressional requests.
"The IRS and Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel are moving aggressively and taking the data requests very seriously. As a precautionary measure, the IRS is casting a wide net to capture any potentially related materials. Our goal is to be exceedingly thorough during this process to ensure we identify any and all pertinent records," the IRS statement said. "The IRS has received numerous congressional requests involving an extensive set of questions and calls for data. Responding to these requests is a top priority for us. We have been in contact with committee staff, and we continue to provide them updates as we diligently work through these requests."
READ MORE: Did IRS chief really visit White House 157 times?
The IRS is responding to multiple Congressional requests for information and struggling to meet the deadlines. According to a Senate Finance Committee aide, the IRS told the committee it will also miss Friday's deadline to produce documents relevant to the tea party targeting.
In a joint statement from the press offices of Sens. Max Baucus and Orrin Hatch, the committee's Democratic chairman and its top Republican, said they were disappointed and that the agency needed to do better.
"This is an agency that revolves around making the American taxpayer meet hard deadlines each and every year when they file their taxes, oftentimes penalizing those that are late," the statement said.
READ MORE: House investigators questioning IRS Cincinnati workers
More problems are on the horizon for the IRS. Rep. Darrell Issa, who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, will hold a hearing next week on an audit of the agency's "spending culture and conference abuses."
The committee will focus on the report released by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) that shows excessive spending at IRS conferences.
Werfel said in a statement that the report will focus on an IRS conference that took place in 2010 and labeled it an "unfortunate vestige from a prior era."
"While there were legitimate reasons for holding the meeting, many of the expenses associated with it were inappropriate and should not have occurred," he said, adding new rules have been put in place and such a conference will not happen under his watch.
No doubt in my mind that I, along with many others, am being targeted by the CNN moderator. The comment I posted today at 7:20 EDT is still awaiting moderation.
If we had a FairTax today,this crap would not be happening today. It is time to replace our "Regressive" tax system because it is based on a 19th centeary economy.
If they dion't investigate the IRS employee union it is not a real investigation.
obama is responsible for this. he ordered the 'hit job' on Conservatives.
Lets be honest many MANY political groups use the tea party name and want that no taxes status and the IRS should investigate them.
Bush is the crook? You can identify a liberal pretty easily. They are delusional and always angry. When they aren't in power, they're angry. When they get in power, the cheat, lie and steal and are angry when the press finally HAS to report it. bcrunner and the Kathy from Glendale are delusional.
Will anyone be held accountable for these illegal and corrupt actions?
Obama claims to be a Law Professor, so surely he is aware of the Tort of Vicarious Liability.
Vicarious Liability is a concept in Tort Law that a supervisory party (such as an employer) bears for the actionable conduct of a subordinate or associate (such as an employee) based on the relationship between the two parties.
I personally think he was fully aware of what the IRS was doing, if he did not indeed order that it be done. Even if by one chance in a million that he didn’t know it was going on, he is sill responsible under the concept of Vicarious Liability and that would also apply to Benghazi, spying on and punishing American citizens, and Fast and Furious.
He should do the decent thing for once in his life, and resign before he totally destroys the United States of America.
Max Baucus encouraged the IRS...he and Schumer issued letters doing such...it's a mess.
"Let's be clear"= I'm about to lie to you.
Just the number of people defending the IRS and blaming Republicans for this scandal should give everybody some kind of idea of the caliber of people following CNN. The kool-aid express!
Ron Paul says "I told you so". He tried to get people to listen YEARS ago re: abolishing the IRS, aka brownshirts, but you antichrist leftards and GOP dismissed him as a "kook". This country is doomed.
Maybe if more Politicians and Government workers were held accountable and fired Washington might do the right thing for our Country. Until then I see a cesspool!
Only democrats would be fine with the IRS mistreating non-liberal types. The more doing their dirty work, the better.
Holder is both the most inept and corrupt AG we've had since John Mitchell. And like Mitchell, he needs to resign and serve 19 months in jail.
Always look to who gets the benefits and you will see who is at the bottom of the problem.
Obama won an election because the Conservatives were being hobbles by the IRS.
It is certainly more than 88 people involved. This abuse by Obama and his left-wing extremist minions is widespread.
So 2 years after it happens, 1 year after the election, 88 employees are told to "Preserve your records." First, its the federal government. Everything is required to be preserved for a certain period of time. It's called the "Freedom of Information Act of 1966." Updated in 1974, and many times since. Geez, so they're being told to follow the law. As opposed to what they were told in 2011, as the evidence indicates. What ever is clever guys.
Dear Data Driven, Conservatives either pay their taxes or go to prison, just as Liberals would.
Unbelievable! How in the world does the GOP end up the bad guy when the administration is using the IRS as it's own political police? Can political prisons be far behind? And then gas chambers? Yet the people trying to clean up the corruption are the bad guys? Unbelievable!
Excuses and more excuses. What is wrong with Americans?
The IRS commits crime after crime and you're making excuses!
I say SHUT THE IRS DOWN. Its criminal. Taxpayers should not be supporting criminal activities.
This is a dog and pony show, I have ZERO faith in our racist AG holder, hes a liar exactly like Obama.
Perhaps this will provide the opportunity for a comprehensive bipartisan overhaul of the tax code and the IRS. A lot of words have been bandied about regarding people paying their "fair share," so now is the time to go with a streamlined flat tax. Get rid of most special-interest loop-holes and deductions. Get rid of many IRS employees. And, of course, prosecution and jail time for any and all federal employees who are found to have willingly participated in the illegal targeting of citizens. Those guilty of minor offenses should just be fired.
Should MoveOn.org and MediaMatters pay their taxes too?
I say we start targeting 501(c)(5) tax exempt organizations for their political involvements. The labor unions. They are as political as they get. Let's strip that exempt status asap. I mean it's only "fair" right? Unions should be paying their "fair share" too.
MoveOn, MediaMatters, Public Finance, labor unions, etc. All tax-exempt and political organizations.
Pay your taxes, liberals.