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."
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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.
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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.
Send these people to jail. The IRS rapes you for the tiniest mistake. It's only fair that they get raped for screwing up, too.
This is not a political statement, I just really hate the IRS.
Awe, just put em all on paid vacations the rest of their lives. done
The IRS did not make a mistake by scrutinizing political groups posing as social welfare organizations! It did its job! The Republicans do not like it and some Democrats are only playing along because they worry it may look like the Dems were collaborating with the IRS. at the end of this IRS fishing expedition, nothing will come of it to nail Obama, which is what this is all about! I do not know why the IRS apologized and why its leaders keep saying what the IRS did was wrong.
They SHOULD be targeted, for granting ILLEGAL tax exemption to political groups.
Let's hope some of these low level IRS employees will roll over on their higher ups that gave the orders.
IRS missed the deadline? Fine them an amount that would cripple them. That's what the IRS does to everyone else, hold them to their own standards.
Personal civil law suits are in order.
Is Lois Lehrner one of these 88? Who could be more guilty than her? Oh yeah, Sarah what'shername that's now going to ruin (oops RUN) our healthcare.
Is it time for the old Forbes idea, a simple flat tax? Anyone out there agree ....
Follow this hideous trail back to where it all began. Find the person who has Obama's undivided attention and who probably runs more things in this country than should ever be allowed. Find the person who is so vicious and who broadcast the intent to get all those who opposed "them" .... Valerie Jarrett. The IRS probably got a heads up from her to do what they did. Book'em all, Dano!
All I can say are those "worker bee" employees like us who work out of the Ohio office are in the process of getting their legal representation to come to terms for its testimony and the surprise is going to be how many will be coming forward of their own volition. The IRS and Obama administration seem to be foreign to the idea that in most cases an employees personal reputation, values, integrity and character with their family and friends is worth much more than a job or money and this will be precisely the example. This dam is gonna break and break big...
of all the department's in the over bloated government the irs has the most employees and they are having trouble with just 88 of them. does anyone see the bull this is?
If the IRS works for Obama how far can this investigation go?
Nothing to see here folks. Move along. Hum that song about Obama being great if you'd like.
Can we say Scape...er!.....Sheep! All these liberals are always ready to back a cause until it is time to pay the price. Come'on guys take one for Barney!
Start squeezing the underlings. They will turn like rats on the real perpetrators. Blood in the water.
And the fines imposed on the IRS, for NOT meeting their deadlines are????? Hmmmm
It is truly a shame that there is not even one honest person at the IRS. Hang your head in shame as your past family rolls over in their grave after seeing what they left behind to continue on. It is what it is.
The IRS is similar to the Borg collective – workers within a group are overseen by a supervisor directed by lower and mid level management at the discretion of executives. And, although they knew precisely what they were doing, the working group members did not have the courage to stand up and demand management to stand down.
But, the national taxpayer advocate Nina Olson could/should have intervened.
Some of the people apologizing for the Obama Administration to the insane defense that the IRS did "nothing" wrong is just plain scary. Obama (your Dear Leader and provider of all "free" stuff) has admitted that it happened. The modern liberal cult mentality reminds me so much of those that have supported tyrants and despots like Mao, Chavez, and, yes, Hitler. Don't you idiots know that by refusing to hold Obama accountable for anything, you are inviting despotism and tyranny. Is that really what you want? Is that the real cost of your "free" stuff from the government?
Eric Holder investigates himself; IRS investigates itself – what's wrong with this picture?
During the Nuremberg trials, those who committed crimes were asked why. The answer was "because I was ordered to". We have an IRS, EPA, and other government agencies that are out of control. They have lost their souls just as the Nazi's did.
Still won't post my comment I see. Quashing courteous discussion you don't like. You are showing your true colors with this behavior.
People being angry and yelling at an agency for doing it's bloody job.
I guess a lot of people here are really THAT dumb enough to believe the Tea Party brand is a considered a "non-profit" and are totally "apolitical" so they should enjoy the same tax exempt statuses churches, charities, and legitimate 501(c)s have. Which is completely bullcrap and everyone and their dog knows. That's the real fraud going on here.
Call me when the teabaggers starts focusing their efforts that are meant to help the community instead of themselves.
If found guilty, send them all over