First on CNN: IRS collects docs from 88 employees in investigation
May 31st, 2013
04:58 PM ET
2 years ago

First on CNN: IRS collects docs from 88 employees in investigation

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.


Filed under: Congress • Darrell Issa • IRS
soundoff (469 Responses)
  1. Scarface86

    Kathy: If they did nothing wrong, why dd they apologize? Have you seen the questions they were requiring these organizations to answer? It's not a witch hunt. The IRS needs to be severely reduced. We need a flat or fair tax and gut the IRS.

    May 31, 2013 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  2. Todd Deetsch

    Kathy-
    Please explain how this is a GOP witch hunt when the IRS has already admitted, and subsequently apologized, for targeting conservative groups?
    How can you have every confidence that there has been no wrong doing when the number of IRS employees has now grown to 88 people? LOL!

    May 31, 2013 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  3. Barb

    Sounds like career beauracrats trying to justify their pathetic jobs with an agency that sends fear through to citizens who have to comply immediately to any requests and sign forms under penalty or purgery or face punishing fines with ungodly interest or jail. I say it's time to abolish the IRS. Senator Ted Cruz and other conservative members of congress are asking us if we agree goto abolishtheIRS.com to sign the perdition and support their cause. If not now, when?

    May 31, 2013 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  4. 57nomad

    For the posters that are crying witch hunt, it should be kept in mind that Obama has condemned what has happened and called for the resignation of Lois Lerner. So, are you guys saying that Obama is engaging in a witch hunt against the IRS??

    May 31, 2013 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  5. mike

    Kathy in Glendale, AZ, maybe a audit should be done on your previous work. You sound like your trying to hide something and by the tone of your post you have a fear of the GOP party and may played a part in the current cover-up.

    May 31, 2013 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  6. larry

    Kathy, the IRS has already admitted their employees did things that were wrong. Since there are 88 or so people involved, it's pretty safe to assume there is a conspiracy involved. It's not a "witch hunt" to determine at what level the wrong doing reached. As for your 32 years, I'm sure you never let your hatred of the GOP interfere with your following IRS Codes & Regs to the letter of the law. (yes, that is sarcasm)

    May 31, 2013 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  7. Mk Urbo

    The current agency needs to be dismantled for a start over from scratch scenario. All current employees need to be barred from reentry to the newly structured agency. Some may see this as unfair since there were probably some good employees, but the reality is that a lesson must be provided for all future employees that they can't be part or party to such egregious displays of abuse.

    May 31, 2013 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  8. Travis Flanders

    To Kathy. That is problem with govt employees you forget you work for us, the American Tax Payer. A witch hunt, you crazy. The facts are there to support the claims. You was one who targeted conservative groups. I hope this shuts the IrS down. They have to much power as it is.

    May 31, 2013 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  9. Jon Gault

    Kathy, you have apparently not seen the news lately. The IRS has already admitted that they were targeting groups based nothing more than their political views. They have apologized for that conduct. The point of the investigation is to find out who pushed this policy and how widespread is the cancer. We can debate tax rates, gun control, the level of government spending and tons of other issues, but if we cannot agree that agencies of the federal government should not harass individuals and groups because of their political views, then this country is truly in trouble. Can we agree that honest government should be everyone's goal?

    May 31, 2013 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  10. Don, Chicago, Ill.

    As a former IRS employee (retired after 39 years) I think all of this is justified to expose the vast conspiracy of the Administration to target anyone who contributes to a cause other than Obama's. I have every confidence that ANY investigation will find prosecutable offenses on the part of many IRS employees, managers and administrative personnel. I have known MANY IRS employees (and I worked in several offices), who used their positions to persecute and obfuscate via IRS intimidation.

    May 31, 2013 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  11. Steve

    The people at the IRS have already acknowledged that there was inappropriate and unacceptable targeting of conservative groups and "apologized". Inconsistent statements have already been made by IRS officials under oath. The full truth of what has been occuring the past three to four years is just begining to trickle out.
    If nothing illegal has been done, then IRS personnel should have nothing to hide and should cooperate fully.

    May 31, 2013 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  12. Pop

    I am also a former IRS employee (now retired). Believe me, those people are very capable of pulling this off. I'm surprised that they have finally been caught.

    May 31, 2013 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  13. WB

    Considering that the IRS has already admitted to wrongly targeting conservative groups, and the supervisor of that group has refused to testify and taken the 5th, I doubt any sane person would consider this a witch hunt. This was a vile political operation to nullify the Citizens United decision by the supreme court. This was not a few bad IRS employees acting on their own. This operation was supported and directed by the thugs of this administration. Lying, spying on reporters, and deceiving the American people will have consequences.

    May 31, 2013 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  14. Bob

    Kathy gets a pension from us tax payers. What else could she say? Blind koolaide drinking government retiree that she is.I bet she was in enforcement taking money from people who earned a living.

    May 31, 2013 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  15. Rosie

    I think these employees are just a bunch of scapegoats for the gov, afterall, they cant get caught in the big house, so why not payoff these folks for a boot and some "yep I did It"?

    May 31, 2013 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  16. Chad

    BUSH is a Crook and Obama knows his way around crooked politics as well. He's the head of the country and in charge so the buck should stop with him.. In the end they are all crooks at times and what has happened here was wrong the Republicans have over reached at times as have the dems but this is about silencing a view and other Americans and that should be UN Acceptable to everyone even if you dont agree with what they say..

    May 31, 2013 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  17. nvrat"

    I just Love Kathy`s (in Glendale, AZ) comment. I believe she still does not understand the importance of this investigation. The employees probably did nothing wrong they just followed their supervisors directions and those Supervisors probably followed their Supervisors orders and so on now, why did the head Supervisor take the 5th Kathy? because she followed her Supervisor`s orders and who did he get his orders from could it be from the guy he visited 26 times and lives at 1600 Pennsylvania ave Washington DC 22022?

    May 31, 2013 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  18. WUWT

    Kathy – if only it were so. You have obviously never been audited.

    This makes Nixon look like a boy scout.

    Were you a memeber of the union?

    May 31, 2013 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  19. Rick

    The IRS already admitted they targeted conservative organizations. I don't think the employees at the IRS did this on their own but somebody was directing this. Voter suppression was the end result. Hence the coverup.

    May 31, 2013 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  20. john

    As a "regular" citizen of the USA, this distresses me. Even if you are a liberal, you ought to be concerned about the government targeting certain groups because of their political beliefs (except those that advocate violence and overthrow the government) which is not the case here. What surprises me is that this is being reported by CNN.

    May 31, 2013 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    Try missing a deadline with the IRS.

    May 31, 2013 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  22. drdave

    Glendale Kathy you are living in a dream world. The IRS was a campaign division of the Obama reelection committee. They targeted conservative groups and held back their ability to organize, collect funds, and campaingn for their candidate. This is boldly un-american and is essentially a civil rights violation.

    May 31, 2013 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  23. Dr9Love

    The IG report proves this isn't just about "conspiracy nuts", and disproves any claims there was "NOTHING WRONG".

    May 31, 2013 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  24. Fletch

    The IRS did nothing wrong because Kathy from Glendale said so and she worked for the IRS so stop the madness. Even though the IRS admitted they were targeting conservative groups and thwarted many organizations from ever establishing there is nothing to it. Can't we just moveon.org. Besides, those conservatives should be discriminated against because they are so evil. The ends always justifies the means.

    May 31, 2013 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  25. Lisann

    I agree! This is all just a witch hunt by those nutty right wingers! It is just a coincidence that every group whose request was held up and every person personally audited were all conservatives. I am convinced that with all of those records requested they will find at least one liberal group that was targeted too. The IRS did nothing wrong!

    May 31, 2013 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
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