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.
KATHY, REALLY, REALLY, your first statement shows tremendous BIAS on your part and you think we believe that you knew no one that would do this? Come on!
The REAL investigation will come to a complete stop at Door #1, Door #2, and Door #3.......... There will be no keys provided or allowed beyond this point.
Kathy, we conservatives are thankful that you are retired. You wear your bias very proudly and I feel certain you would have gladly aided your bosses in this quest by IRS to find and punish anyone who does not tow the democratic party line.
This time, the IRS ADMITTED wrong doing. The reality that some IRS agents coordinated an attack on fellow citizens would be serious enough by itself but consider the IRS 's relationship to Obamacare. It is the duty of the out party to keep the other as honest as possible. We need more answers than we have so far.
I have always despised an agency such as the IRS, I have always felt it was an opportunity for unwielding corruption. That being said, regardless of the outcome findings in this case, I have also always had a healthy respect for the agency which I believed carried out difficult and sensitive work with complete competency professionalism. The mere suggestion of a scandal of this nature will stigmatise the agency, and all it's fine people forever. That's a side of the story you won't hear coverage of.
If their true intention wasto investigate corruption, the last administration should give you job security for years, but the gop only wants to investigate this administration, no witch hunt here, i see all of ths coming home to roost one day. dick cheney personally destroyed all evidence of the WMD lies, fabricated reports, valerie plume outage anyone?
I love people defending the IRS even after they have admitted targeting groups. They issued an apology and blamed a Cincinnati office. Stop saying its not possible or over reaching, they already confessed.
Poor Kathy, or should I call you Lois? The IRS is a bunch of liars. Hey bumrunner, if there is nothing there then you don't have to worry, right? This has legs and you all know it. I hope they have enough jail cells.
You have to know they are purging their hard drives as fast as they can. Especially if any emails come from a higher authority. If 88 IRS employees were involved–88 IRS employees should be fired with no benefits, no retirement–NOTHING. Then they need to go after their superiors and fire them. None of this "let them resign with their benefits intact. Why reward them for illegal actions?
@Kathy – brilliant post. The IRS planted a question at a press conference and apologizes for targeting conservative groups because they did absolutely nothing wrong. I am sure every employee of the IRS is honest. Just like every police officer, firefighter, politician, teacher... Are honest. No one in this country would ever do anything wrong. They all follow codes, regulations and the law. We should just start closing jails.
Kathy, did you ever work in that particular office in Ohio during the Obama administration? And have you never encountered a " good old boy culture" in any of the offices you worked in"? I think I know the answer to the latter question.
I am absolutely astounded that there are those that wish to ignore, justify, or sweep these serious allegations under the rug. This country is in huge trouble. Party before country. Frightening. As an independent voter I am truly disgusted.
@Kathy from Glendale, AZ. So...you never witnessed any IRS employee violating the law. Therefore, it didn't happen. I presume, therefore, because you have never witnessed a murder that no murder has ever occurred.
It is painfully apparent, Kathy, that you were a model employee of the IRS.
To Kathy, Glendale,AZ: You first sentence tells it all. With your biased political statement you are exactly the type that should not have ever worked for the IRS. I am sure you took "Liberal" advantage of your power while at the IRS. Maybe the IRS IG should check into your activities while at the IRS.
I LOVE the post from Kathy the x IRS agent...she is sure that "nothing wrong" happened here....but sorry ding dong there is already admitted behavior that has everyone, dems and repubs irate.
But what else can we expect for someone who worked for the IRS...
So, I guess that the posters here do not think the IRS has done anything wrong with their actions against the Conservative groups. If the roles were reversed the Dem's in Congress would be running around with their hair on fire screaming for the heads of the purpatrators! WAKE UP THIS IS THE BEGINNINGS OF 1984 IN 2013!
Any apparent bias needs to be carefully investigated. When/if a government agency is overly aggressive when chasing the left (oh yeah, that did happen also), then that kind of problem needs to be expunged also. Frankly, it is pretty clear that there is a pattern of misbehavior lack of proper leadership DURING the Obama presidency. (No cause/effect is being claimed here... Might just be yet another lack of follow through on the promise of open governing by Obama. For those who always argue 'you too', it Bush wasn't perfect either, but he didn't claim/wasn't claimed to be any kind of spiritual leader either - just the unfortunate leader during a very bad attack on American soil.)
@ Kathy, your statement of faith after the fact that the IRS has ALREADY admitted to wrong doing smacks of pure BLIND partisanship......
Kathy, calling your fellow Americans that you disagree with politically "stupid" and "conspiracy nuts" tells us that we have a bigger problem/corruption at the IRS. I am sure 99% of IRS employees agree with you..
Letting them collect the data themselves is ridiculous.
To remove the bad apples, you have to empty the barrel. The FBI should raid their offices and began confiscating computers.
To Kathy in AZ. Whether you didn't see (or didn't notice ) any corruption after 32 years, I will not debate with you. Your honesty very well may have kept you out of the loop. I saw that often during my federal service.
However, this is not your IRS. It has changed drastically over the last four years.
The facts already uncovered prove that.
Give them all a pay raise.
They are trying to keep the koch brother's empire from running the country. There are a few of these fools already in congress that need to be voted out like yesterday's garbage also.
liberalism gone stark raving mad.
Going "forward" there is a simple succinct fix........15% individual flat tax NO EXEMPTIONS, NO IRS, everyone pays their fair
share. And corporations a 25% same deal no exemptions, no write offs period. No more special interest lawyers, lobbyists or congressional payola.
So many of these scandals have the feel of a government pretty much left on its own to operate as it sees fit, without the benefit of a strong message from its leadership as to what will and will not be tolerated.
In other words, a government with a weak leader whose primary interests are political versus managerial.
Fire every last one of them! Go to a national sales tax collected at the register by businesses. Eliminate the IRS!