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.
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.
Ah yes, a GOP conspiracy.
We have 300 conservative groups denied standing and HOW MANY liberal ones? Zero?
I blame George Bush.
Is one of them Obama?
The IRS has already admitted wrongdoing, and Clinton was impeached. Leftists always make me laugh. Protect the O at all costs,even your dignity. And why can't 88 IRS agents meet a deadline?, when they force us to do so under penely and fines. and holder investigating holder is typical of this administration. NTEU much to cozy with white house.
Why isn't the FBI involved and confiscating all this imfo?
Delaying tactic with time to review and cover up.Given that the IRS has a police force and SWAT team, deploy both to seize all files,computers and other suspect equipment pronto.
Their bosses,the American people and their elected representatives should demand no less.In a private company if you are suspect or fired you have one hour to clean your desk under the watchful eye of security.Another example of a government agency forgetting who they work for...NOT the government but the voting citizen.
if guilty fire the lot and ban from federal service for life.
The Obama administration is being attacked by the far right. I bet it hurts them in the mid-term elections. They are killing the country with these baseless witch hunts.
Yeah Bush is to blame. The scandals keep mounting and it's always someone else's fault. This is by far the most corrupt ( morally and criminally) admin in history. Yeah he's no crook ... and Hitler was just a good guy with a few wacky ideas.
The letter of the law certainly does not require 501 organizations to divulge the content of their prayers or lists of their families and extended family members. This was a witch-hunt alright. IRS employees like to hide behind the law as if to say that what is legal is morally right. We all know that is a fallacy, and we all know that the IRS is the strong arm of the federal government tyrannizing the people. The question should not be as Boehner states, "who's going to jail?" The question should be, "Since it's 2013, and the 100 year charter of the federal reserve expires this year, why aren't we abolishing both the FED and the IRS?" Give the power to print currency back to the Treasury and there's no longer a need to endure economic bubbles, mass unemployment or endless wars at the behest of the ruling elite. Power to the people!
There are those individuals in every organization that could care less about the integrity of the organization. Those bleeding hearts posting they worked for the IRS and never saw wrong must have been mushrooms working in a very dark room and were shoveled manure for paper work. Those low information voters still supporting this corrupt administration evidently do not know how to think or form an opinion without being told the talking points or lies of the day.
I really wonder how the press would handle this if the IRS was targeting liberal/socialist/communist/Pro-Choice groups and approving the conservative groups with a wink and a nod. I worked as a contractor with the IRS early in the Bush administration for three years and the chance of that happening was ZERO! Liberals run that organization and it's time for a house cleaning. I loved the work I was doing (computer support) but was glad to leave when my time was up. Even back then crap like this was going on I could only imagine how it is now
You mean the Clinton impeachment and the judge ordering him to pay Paula Jones $800,000 and barring him from going before the Supreme court is NOTHING? OK. LOL.
Hey ding dongs, they have already said they targeted conservative groups? That's not the news. The news is who knew about the targeting.
Strange how people react to this. I wonder how they will feel when their children and grandchildren are enslaved because a switch of politcial parties. Are you still going to shout the praises of a government that attacks people and their families; who disagree with it, when you are the one who disagrees?
Shred baby shred, delete everything. There is no accountability, those jets our ours!
Thank you Kathy, Case closed everyone. Kathy says nobody she ever met did anything but follow the letter of the law so it all must be good. And besides, it was all Bush's fault according to bcrunner. So, nothing to see here. Give bush a call and ask him why he is such a meany and made all these problems for Obama.
Bcbummer... Yeah, nothing came of it except for the impeachment of President Clinton. No big deal.
Another former IRS employee of 39 years. Partisan witch hunts are prevalent within the GOP. Just another political ploy in delaying any real sense of fair play from a minority party. A waste of taxpayer funds before our eyes. People need to open their eyes as to the real enemies of the state.
Just amazing how blindly these commenters follow the ideological narrative in their hatred for the dreaded conservatives. The GOP didn't start this mess, the IRS came out and ADMITTEDIT HAPPENED, then apologized for it. Wake up people. This may well go all the way to the top. Franken and others publicly called for the IRS to investigate the Tea Party groups, despite the fact that an equal number of left leaning organizations were applying for the same thing, and Obama made very strong insinuations as well. Obama is not the Messiah you naively think he is, he's just as power hungry and corrupt as other politicians, and just as bad, if not worse than Bush was.
Spin away little libbies, spin away. You can call it a "witch hunt" all you want. The fact is every week we get more revelations of wrongdoing from this agency, and only a delusional lib would consider this a non-event. There were clearly illeg
Yes it was all just an amazing coincidence that conservative groups were audited and harassed while at the same time liberal groups applications sailed through. This is absolutely chilling in its implications, This should alarm every citizen of this country and for those of you who don't care because it is the conservatives remember that power goes back and forth and your guys can be on the wrong end after an election cycle. I think the vast scope of this indicates it wasn't just a couple of rogue employees but a very defined political objective by someone a lot higher in the food chain,
The IRS was involved in a Democrat run conspiracy to influence the outcome of a national election. That is a crime. This conspiracy combined with Democrat widespread use of casting fraudulent votes may have made the reelection of Obama bogus. People should be prosecuted, pensions lost and prison time handed out. It's the only way American trust in the IRS can be regained.
We have no reason to believe a word uttered by an IRS employee.. We can not rely on what they say. They have prooved that. The higher ups are doing their best to place blame on the ones that actually work and follow orders.
Janet Napolitano, where is th homeland security we were suppose to have from terrorist (aka) irs?
Instead of 90 'low level' employees, go back to the high-level IRS employees and IRS union leaders who met regularly with President Obama in the White House between 2010 and 2012. A fish rots from the head – and that's where this this culture of corruption began.