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.
OMG ! What kook aid drinkers are posting on this board! I guess you didn't, for starters, hear that weasel from the IRS take the fifth. The IRS is infested with liberal political activists and brave men like Darrel Issa will bring them to justice. I hope and pray a lot of IRS agents will be prosecuted and thrown into jail. They are un-American, to say the least. The IRS shames this Country.
Kathy, the IRS is the problem.
and will the 88 be fired if they particapated in it?
The Republicans are on a "fishing" expedition. The IRS would never do this. They are above reproach. If it weren't for the IRS this government would not be able to function. Tax collections are not the only thing, it's everything to allow our government to operate. Doug Schulman's 157 visits to the White House were to use the bathroom to relieve himself. He never met President Obama during those visits because the President was golfing.
As a former IRS Tax Collector and Revenue Officer Aide direction and policy was always given by a Group Manager with orders from District Directors. District Directors are GS 14-15 government employees who are appointed into those positions from higher up the government food chain. They receive their orders from US Treasury big wigs, who hatch their polices with direction from the Treasury Secretary. So 88 employees who had the actual work on their computers were told to selectively pick out conservative organizations to intimidate and were given the form letter contents to use by someone further up the circle of government life.
Sure...no problem with the IRS. So why didn't Miller and Lerner tell congress about this in May 2012 when then they learned about the targeting of conservative groups?? Why did Lerner have to take the 5th?? Why are so many conservative groups 501c4 status still being held up? Kathy, get your head out of the sand...if these were progressive groups you would most likely be screaming bloody murder!!! This whole thing stinks of Chicago political thuggery!!!
Remember when Ron Paul wanted to eliminate the IRS and get income taxes near zero? All you idiots thought he was an "extremist" because your favorite beloved propaganda media outlet told you so. All of you deserve it. Every single bit of it.
You people are blind – wake up and smell the sulfur!
I trust Obama is one of the 88?
Give these IRS employees immunity on condition that they tell all they know. Let's see how high up the stink carries.
Asking criminals to investigate themselves and voluntarily turn over evidence of their crimes.
I expected as much from these Republicans who had every reason to ensure that the conservative rights were violated and their votes suppressed during the 2012 election. They knew that the Tea Party and others wanted to oust liberal Republicans as much as Democrats.
Unsurprising that they've been dragging their feet years after the voter suppression and oppression by the Federal government started. And now they "ask" the IRS to please investigate themselves.
The IRS scandle is a violation by the Excutive office, and we have only began to see the measures attempted by a failed President to manipulate intimidate and control in order to gain power. The administration has Bengazi, Wire Tapping of the Media, and the IRS Profiling groups that have a rights to be heard.
The forest for the trees. Liberals wouldn't know the truth if it were slapped across their faces with a steel flyswatter; though admittedly, seeing such a thing happen would bring a wince..then a smile to my face. I'm sorry, but you can't make this stuff up. My wish is for people to take their political blinders off and see what is really before their eyes...and leave their party politcs behind and try to be a little more objective about what is being presented here. Blind loyalty is not logical nor is it necessarily moral. I always told my subordinates...Don't do anything I'll have to tell the truth about...My integrity and my job is more important to me than yours...Bank on it!
It is evil liberalism attracts this type of behavior. Just like liberals inserting liberal bias into news outlets and academic activities, and committing acts of violence against their opponents.
The more people are threatened with jail time, the more they will finger people higher up until they get to the source. It's going to be a long hot summer.
If Nixon had been a Democrat, we never would have heard of Watergate.
Kathy, you are honest and expect the same from others. Naive.
Kathy, These IRS agents were probably following orders from the dumb broad that took the fifth!!
As a life long Democrat, I agree with other readers, this is just a witch hunt and the GOP will find nothing because there are no witches in the DNC–just a bunch of vampires who love to suck the conservatives dry and will work hard to protect other vampires.
BTW: If a GOP administration ever dares do what our beloved vampire OB did, we will make sure they are sucked dry and made an example of!!!
Kathy, That must be some tasty kool-ade your drinking.
The crook was Bush... not Obama! You may not like his policies, but the man is not a crook!! But keep repeating your mistakes... bcrunner
Blindly believing that your man can do no wrong and excusing any number of "mistakes" "omissions" and "errors" Obama's Administration has been involved with and his own mishandling of issues is intellectually dishonest and proves that some people can refuse to see past their partisanship. I thought only lemmings would follow their leader blindly off a cliff, comments like yours prove there are many people in the US with the same intellect as those rodents.
What is more frightening than what the IRS has already admitted to is the way so many from the left are ready to completely dismiss the bald faced politicization of that agency and make excuses for it after it has already admitted to targeting citizens according to their political philosophy. Anyone who would look the other way just because it was done to the "other guy" who they disagree with, will richly deserve it when it happens to them.
If you don't happen to be a conservative and think it's OK for the full weight of the govt. to be leveled against Americans who you dont agree with & who therefore you view as your enemies, there's not much more you can add to this comments area.
Bush was slandered over and over and over again and not a shred of conspiracy just baseless acquisitions, innuendo over and over again to this day.
Silly liberals. I guess targeting conservative groups and religious groups means nothing to your socialist agenda. In your opinion the first second third and fifth amendments are meaningless. This came from the top down. The lower tier will give up managers who ordered this. To think the Dems want this group to police Obamacare.