First on CNN: IRS collects docs from 88 employees in investigation
May 31st, 2013
04:58 PM ET
7 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. Anonymous

    88, Why don't the news services ask those who were targeted to come forward and present the issue they were fraudulently investigated for? Asking the IRS is like asking the fox not to look at the chickens.

    June 2, 2013 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  2. Leroy

    Why not ask those people who were targeted by the IRS to come forward. Or do you expect the IRS to let go of their withholding?

    June 2, 2013 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  3. John

    Actually, Nixon never did successfully use the IRS to go after his political enemies, and notwithstanding that it was the first article of impeachment against him–that he had. He approached the IRS commissioner (forget his name) and the commissioner politely told Nixon to go to hell, and that IRS would not be politicized. Nixon backed down. Clinton and now Obama are the only two presidents to have actually done it, and Clinton only went after a few people and it all came out much later. Obama's administration has taken this to an entirely new and unprecedented level–not only going after conservative groups but even individual donors and used the IRS for widespread, systemic abuse in the form of retaliatory audits. The Chicago Way. The proof may or may not come out, but no way this does not go all the way to Obama himself.

    June 2, 2013 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  4. Anonymous

    Yes, it is the government turning on us. Get your guns polished, Anne Oakley!

    June 2, 2013 04:13 am at 4:13 am |
  5. hender1123

    After reading more from other sources I think I've got it. On the e-mails they are asked to give up the ones they think are useful and destroy the ones that would make them look bad.

    June 2, 2013 04:22 am at 4:22 am |
  6. Rosario

    Republicans are on a fishing expedition in trying to connect the whitehouse to the IRS controversy. It is clear that this was perpetrated by low level employees!

    June 2, 2013 05:54 am at 5:54 am |
  7. Amy Nosta

    And we have to submit our health insurance information to the IRS–how terrifying that this corrupt department gets even more power over us. All of us.

    June 2, 2013 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  8. D Guest

    So we're supposed to trust the IRS to collect evidence on itself? Those computers need to be impounded, especially the ones which handle the email. We know who made the demands on the organizations; start with them.

    June 2, 2013 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  9. Anonymous

    Round them up!!

    June 2, 2013 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  10. javaman

    To Kathy: it makes me sick to my stomach to know that my tax dollars paid your salary at the IRS for 32 makes me sick to my stomach that my tax dollars are paying for your retirement and health care until you keel over....this scandal is as scary as it far every IRS official that has testified, or REFUSED to testify, has shown complete contempt for the american taxpayer and the law.

    June 2, 2013 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  11. ascpgh

    Turnabout is fair play. About time we learn about the waste, deceit, frivolity and bureaucratic superiority this once believed neutral government agency hides. No better argument for their abolishment exists than the reality they are struggling to cover up as the light of day sees their excesses and abuses.

    It is like watching a parachutist in free fall, their canopy failing to open. We all know this is going to be an ugly hit when it ends.

    June 2, 2013 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  12. How Quickly We Forget

    As a consevative, I am not saying what the IRS did was right. However, what do we expect? For years the federal government has decreased it's workforce and workers are told to do more with less. Training has been slashed because a few bad apples overstepped their authority (that NEVER happens on the outside – sarcasm). Pay has been the same for the last four years while prices have skyrocketed. Yes, you can show a GS employee working in DC making over $100K but I can also show MOST GS employees outside DC make around an average of $38K a year. I can also show McDonalds workers in DC making close to $100K a year while most outside DC making around $30K a year – it's call CPI. My point is we are paying government employees less, taking away people while increasing work size, and not allowing them to have any training. Expect more problems when dealing with the government.

    June 2, 2013 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  13. mike hunt

    So what in two or three months the IRS will show up to another congressional hearing and say something like: "What difference -at this point- does it make!!"?? And then the bought and paid for media (like the website I'm currently visiting) will say something like "that's in the past" or "lets look to the future"? Don't fool yourselves, if this can happen to one group it can and will happen to all groups. Why even study history anymore if it doesn't mean anything?

    June 2, 2013 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  14. Edward Boothe

    I saw on TV this morning where they had convicted an Obomacrat of stealing numerous blank absentee ballots in Florida.

    I have often wondered just how many votes the Obamacrats steal in every election. It has to be thousands and possibly millions.

    I know for certain that there is one person in the Senate because of stealing votes and he feels no guilt, for he is evil, and evil people have no conscience.

    Actions like this will make America a third world nation by the middle of the century. God help the white children.

    Communism is not coming. Communism is here.

    June 2, 2013 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  15. Namebsy

    Tap their phones and emails, Shouldn't be a problem for Eric Holder, right?

    June 2, 2013 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  16. Edward Boothe

    Obama claims to be a Law Professor, so surely he is aware of the Tort of Vicarious Liability.

    Vicarious Liability is a concept in Tort Law that a supervisory party (such as an employer) bears for the actionable conduct of a subordinate or associate (such as an employee) based on the relationship between the two parties.
    I personally think he was fully aware of what the IRS was doing, if he did not indeed order that it be done. Even if by one chance in a million that he didn’t know it was going on, he is sill responsible under the concept of Vicarious Liability and that would also apply to Benghazi, spying on and punishing American citizens, and Fast and Furious.

    He should do the decent thing for once in his life, and resign before he totally destroys the United States of America, unless that is his goal.

    Communism is not coming, Communism is here

    June 2, 2013 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  17. John Campbell


    The problem here is no one is going to buy the integrity of this now. 88 employees allegedly being looked at and we're supposed to believe that if this goes into higher levels that someone, or a group of someones, are not deleting anything that could possibly implicate them? That of these 88, IF one or any number of them are actually involved, they aren't deleting anything that might implicate them?

    This isn't being done as a mass seizure of all materials with an independent IT tech able to see what's on their computers. It's the fox being told to guard the hen house. It just takes longer to do a thorough job. A thorough job of destroying evidence.

    June 2, 2013 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  18. AZ Dave

    Impeachment is the only cure .... then dissolve the IRS to keep the body healthy ,,,,

    June 2, 2013 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  19. Rudy NYC


    the difference between Watergate and the IRS scandal is that the IRS scandal targets the American general public. It is the Government turning on us.
    It was not an audit. Back in 2004, the Bush administration and Republican members of Congress openly and publicly called for an audit of the NAACP, which affected the hundreds of local branches nationwide and cost the group millions in legal fees over the course of the 2 year audit.

    They had accused the NAACP of being a political organization after the groups president made remarks criicizing the war during their annual conference. The president had expressed concern that a higher percentage of minority children were enlisting than that of the general population. In a way, he was encouraging parents to encourage higher education on their children over a military career. He was speaking about kids' educations, not war.

    June 2, 2013 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  20. Uh-Clem

    I have yet to see where anyone has been injured by these requests for more information. Anyone who compares this incident to Richard Nixon's threats of IRS Audits has there heads where the sun doesn't shine. This is about reviews of applications for tax exempt status, not taxes paid or not paid.

    June 2, 2013 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  21. Jopa

    Here come the scapegoats to protect the Obama regime

    June 2, 2013 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  22. CitizenKK

    Uh oh...some low-level emloyee will sing like a's going to get ugly.

    June 2, 2013 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  23. Ron

    The IRS profiled groups, then targeted them. This is worst than Watergate! Watergate was stupid and carried out by a bunch of amateurs. This is carried out by the Federal government against the American people. Don't think that if you were not in one of these groups it couldn't happen to you. There could be numerous reasons you or your cause could be singled out!

    June 2, 2013 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  24. Ken

    The IRS has targeted organizations for years – its part of the "vetting" process to determine if the organization meets the standards for non profit companies. The fact that any group seeking non profit status whos name has " Tea Party " indicates a political party which is not eligible.

    June 2, 2013 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  25. Jerry

    I do not want this targeting to end. When the WH turns republican I want it applied 10 times stronger against the liberals. It is always like that. The liberals commit some crime or violation and then conservatives must make changes in laws to prevent it from happening again. All we have to do is wait and then play it back to liberals, otherwise they will never learn.

    June 2, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
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