Video: IRS chain of command undermines the “low level employees” defense

posted at 3:21 pm on May 22, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

In one sense, this can’t surprise anyone who’s ever dealt with entrenched bureaucracies, which are hardly known for their innovation. No one really believes for a moment that a few rogue agents just decided to band together to start targeting opponents of the current administration for extra scrutiny, delays, and harassment on their own. That argument flies in the face of common sense and common experience in bureaucratic stagnation.

Fox 19 in Cincinnati shows that the internal processes and organizational chart of the IRS makes it provably ridiculous as well:

FOX19.com-Cincinnati News, Weather

When an application for tax exempt status comes into the IRS, agents have 270 days to work through that application. If the application is not processed within those 270 days it automatically triggers flags in the system. When that happens, individual agents are required to input a status update on that individual case once a month, every month until the case is resolved.

Keep in mind, at least 300 groups were targeted out of Cincinnati alone. Those applications spent anywhere from 18 months to nearly 3 years in the system and some still don’t have their non-profit status. 300 groups multiplied by at least 18 months for each group, means thousands of red flags would have been generated in the system.

So who in the chain of command would have received all these flags? The answer, according to the IRS directory, one woman in Cincinnati, Cindy Thomas, the Program Manager of the Tax Exempt Division. Because all six of our IRS workers have different individual and territory managers, Cindy Thomas is one manager they all have common.

Fox 19 then connects the dots to the flags:

It turns out Cindy Thomas’ name is one we have heard before. The independent journalism group ProPublica says in November of 2012 they had requested information on conservatives groups that had received non-profit status. Along with that information, the IRS released private information on nine conservative groups that had not yet been approved and personal information had not been redacted. The person who signed off on that release, Cindy Thomas.

How long before Congress subpoenas Thomas? Hopefully, not long at all.

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Cracking dam

Schadenfreude on May 22, 2013 at 3:23 PM

How long before Congress subpoenas Thomas? Hopefully, not long at all.

And how long before Thomas takes the 5th after that?

Doughboy on May 22, 2013 at 3:23 PM

Because of damn crackers.

rogerb on May 22, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Just because this is true doesn’t mean the Republicans aren’t on a witch hunt. /

Liam on May 22, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Hey look, some real reporting.

rightmind on May 22, 2013 at 3:27 PM

How long before Congress subpoenas Thomas? Hopefully, not long at all.

She might know something and have to take the 5th, so the Republicans will just decide not to subpoena her to save her the embarrassment. They couldn’t do that with Lerner since they had already called her to testify, but they did let her off as easily as possible. Now that they know it will go, they’ll see no point in it.

Fenris on May 22, 2013 at 3:29 PM

Hehehe. Issa says Trey may be correct that Lerner’s opening statement revoke her 5th amendment rights and he may recall her.

wyntre9 on May 22, 2013 at 3:29 PM

Issa just said Lerner may be recalled because she may have waived her 5th Amendment right with her idiotic grandstanding.

NotCoach on May 22, 2013 at 3:29 PM

Hey look, some real reporting.

rightmind on May 22, 2013 at 3:27 PM

Sadly, this guy Swann is leaving this local network when his contract expires at the end of this month.

BuckeyeSam on May 22, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Ohhhh, this sounds like it could be fun. Or she’ll take the 5th and live happily ever after.

Cindy Munford on May 22, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Hey look, some real reporting.

rightmind on May 22, 2013 at 3:27 PM

It’s from a Fox station, so it’s not real real reporting. /

Liam on May 22, 2013 at 3:32 PM

Ohhhh, this sounds like it could be fun. Or she’ll take the 5th and live happily ever after.

Cindy Munford on May 22, 2013 at 3:30 PM

If she takes the 5th again, after waiving her rights like a total lefty genius, she’ll be found in contempt of Congress.

NotCoach on May 22, 2013 at 3:33 PM

The fat lady hasn’t sun, not yet.

Schadenfreude on May 22, 2013 at 3:37 PM

Isn’t it remarkable how ‘the smartest people in the room” usually wind up being anything but?

kingsjester on May 22, 2013 at 3:38 PM

sun = sung

Schadenfreude on May 22, 2013 at 3:38 PM

The IRS Chain of Command 2008-Present

BOSS
UNDERBOSS

CAPO

FOOT SOLDIER

docflash on May 22, 2013 at 3:38 PM

Let me be clear. At no time was the Obama administration aware of what the Obama administration was doing or to whom they were doing it. Anyone who says differently is a conspiracy theorist wacko and a racist.

VorDaj on May 22, 2013 at 3:38 PM

Great investigative reporting.

Looks like it’s time for co-conspirator Ben (?) needs a good once over by DOJ.

Dusty on May 22, 2013 at 3:39 PM


If she takes the 5th again, after waiving her rights like a total lefty genius, she’ll be found in contempt of Congress.

Yeah, just like Congress found Holder to be in contempt. Look at what happened to Holder! Oh, wait. Nothing happened to Holder. His own DoJ found the contempt citation to be without merit, and Congress never pursued the matter in civil court. What do you want to wager that the DoJ refuses to pursue Ms. Thomas?

These people have every right to be arrogant and imperious. You really can’t touch them. At some point when none of us were watching a coup took place or something.

casuist on May 22, 2013 at 3:39 PM


Anyone who says differently is a conspiracy theorist wacko and a racist.

Birther!

casuist on May 22, 2013 at 3:40 PM

If she takes the 5th again, after waiving her rights like a total lefty genius, she’ll be found in contempt of Congress.

NotCoach on May 22, 2013 at 3:33 PM

Then what? She’ll be made to sit in ‘the comfy chair’, like Eric the withHolder?

Dexter_Alarius on May 22, 2013 at 3:41 PM

And how long before Thomas takes the 5th after that?

Doughboy on May 22, 2013 at 3:23 PM

So?

Accuse her of being a “conspirator”… tap her phones, hack her e-mail, and dig up all the information you can… then drop the charges.

Did we learn nothing with Rosen? Investigations are dead easy, especially if you do them in secret while simply accusing people of trumped up crimes.

What? You can’t tell me the DoJ is going to get upset about that and call it inappropriate. It’s SOP isn’t it?

If we can’t get the horse back into the barn… why not take it for a ride or two?

gekkobear on May 22, 2013 at 3:41 PM

No one really believes for a moment that a few rogue agents just decided to band together to start targeting opponents of the current administration for extra scrutiny, delays, and harassment on their own.

What do you mean? Wasn’t it a few rogue agents who ran all those guns to Mexican drug gangs? Why would this be any different?

VorDaj on May 22, 2013 at 3:41 PM

At some point when none of us were watching a coup took place or something.

casuist on May 22, 2013 at 3:39 PM

I have said a long time that’s pretty much what happened in Dallas at noon, November 22, 1963. The country changed forever at that instant, declining ever since.

Liam on May 22, 2013 at 3:43 PM

It would be nice to see what the trail was for the nine applications that Pro Publica received — who was administering those applications, where were they in the process, had they been redflagged yet for 270 day expiration of time and so forth.

Dusty on May 22, 2013 at 3:44 PM

Reading this Fox report in conjunction with Eliana Johnson’s fine piece at the Corner, its clear this investigation has a very long way to run. One thing we know for sure is that every thread needs to be pulled, and especially we need to remember these investigations were by multiple agencies acting simultaneously (in concert?) in most instances. Why was OSHA involved in the True The Vote and VanderSloot matters? Who brought in the EPA; and the DOL? What other agencies were involved?

MTF on May 22, 2013 at 3:46 PM

I would like to suggest they hook up all of those testifying to a polygraph machine and show the plotter on a huge screen in the hearing room.

How great would that be? Until all of them take the 5th.

fogw on May 22, 2013 at 3:46 PM

Issa just said Lerner may be recalled because she may have waived her 5th Amendment right with her idiotic grandstanding.

NotCoach on May 22, 2013 at 3:29 PM

Sweet.
It’ll be death by a thousand cuts for this regime.

Meanwhile keep an eye on the amnesty (not immigration reform) bill.

rbj on May 22, 2013 at 3:47 PM

She’ll talk I hope

jake49 on May 22, 2013 at 3:47 PM

Re: Lerner’s selective invocation of the Fifth Amendment right:

It is well established that a witness may not testify voluntarily about a subject and then invoke the privilege against self-incrimination when questioned about the details in a single proceeding. The privilege is waived for the matters to which the witness testifies, and the scope of the waiver is determined by the scope of relevant cross-examination. She has no right to set forth to the jury all the facts which tend in her favor without laying herself open to a cross-examination upon those facts.

Boomshakalaka!

LASue on May 22, 2013 at 3:50 PM

Yeah, just like Congress found Holder to be in contempt. Look at what happened to Holder! Oh, wait. Nothing happened to Holder. His own DoJ found the contempt citation to be without merit, and Congress never pursued the matter in civil court. What do you want to wager that the DoJ refuses to pursue Ms. Thomas?

These people have every right to be arrogant and imperious. You really can’t touch them. At some point when none of us were watching a coup took place or something.

casuist on May 22, 2013 at 3:39 PM

Jail time can come with a contempt citation. Shame on Congress not pursuing the matter in civil court in regards to Holder, but letting him off the hook doesn’t save Lerner. And the history of this charge has led to testimony being given every time. Holder is the first to avoid giving testimony or jail time.

NotCoach on May 22, 2013 at 3:50 PM

According to this Politico report, Issa is definitely bringing Lerner back.

Dusty on May 22, 2013 at 3:51 PM

The White House is doing a fifth of Jack Daniels

J_Crater on May 22, 2013 at 3:53 PM

Sadly, this guy Swann is leaving this local network when his contract expires at the end of this month.

BuckeyeSam on May 22, 2013 at 3:30 PM

That’s too bad. Do you know where he is going?

rightmind on May 22, 2013 at 3:53 PM

Hey, where’d my comment go?

Mr. Holder, is that you?

LASue on May 22, 2013 at 3:53 PM

That chart was put together a long time ago.

Bishop on May 22, 2013 at 3:54 PM

Yeah, just like Congress found Holder to be in contempt. Look at what happened to Holder! Oh, wait. Nothing happened to Holder. His own DoJ found the contempt citation to be without merit, and Congress never pursued the matter in civil court. What do you want to wager that the DoJ refuses to pursue Ms. Thomas?

These people have every right to be arrogant and imperious. You really can’t touch them. At some point when none of us were watching a coup took place or something.

casuist on May 22, 2013 at 3:39 PM

Did you “go” to Harvard Law alongside non-nonpartisan? Does “It is being adjudicated in the court system” equate to “nothing” for you?

From April 24: Judge skeptical of Odumba in executive privilege fight

What will you say if 0dumba loses there – call it “double-nothing”?

Anti-Control on May 22, 2013 at 3:54 PM

Issa just said Lerner may be recalled because she may have waived her 5th Amendment right with her idiotic grandstanding.

NotCoach on May 22, 2013 at 3:29 PM

DRAG HER!!!!!

GhoulAid on May 22, 2013 at 3:57 PM

That chart was put together a long time ago.

[Bishop on May 22, 2013 at 3:54 PM]

I hadn’t seen it before, so it’s good to see it now.

You’d think that someone on the hearing committee might have bothered to use that as a visual when people were talking about how small and rogue this operation was.

Dusty on May 22, 2013 at 3:57 PM

Along with that information, the IRS released private information on nine conservative groups that had not yet been approved and personal information had not been redacted. The person who signed off on that release, Cindy Thomas.

WTG Fox19 in Cincinnati!! Woot woot. This is good journalism. This is news! This is something that we didn’t know before.

Note to Chuck Todd, this is what the administration is trying to outlaw! What they are not trying to outlaw is what you are good at–tongue bathing and water carrying, that stuff is still allowed.

ted c on May 22, 2013 at 3:58 PM

Drudge is reporting that Lerner is going to get her a$$ hauled back in front of the committee. Homegirl is in some trouble.

ted c on May 22, 2013 at 4:00 PM

Let me be clear. At no time was the Obama administration aware of what the Obama administration was doing or to whom they were doing it. Anyone who says differently is a conspiracy theorist wacko and a racist.

VorDaj on May 22, 2013 at 3:38 PM

Got a good photo emailed to me last night of one of the recent TEA Party protesters.
His sign said:
“Let’s Waterboard Obama and find out if he knows ANYTHING”

dentarthurdent on May 22, 2013 at 4:01 PM

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa said embattled IRS official Lois Lerner waived her Fifth Amendment rights and will be hauled back to appear before his panel again.

The California Republican said Lerner’s Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination was voided when she gave an opening statement this morning denying any wrongdoing and professing pride in her government service.

Duuuuhh duuuh duuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhh!

Lird your Goins.

Bishop on May 22, 2013 at 4:02 PM

That org chart doesn’t show the greedy-union management structure. Barky’s Executive Order allows the greedy-union to participate in management decisions and exempts them from FOIA.

The NTEU is one of the hardest-left radical labor organizations in the country. A year from now those greedy-union thugs will have access to all healthcare records and all financial account records, including banks, credit unions, IRA/401K, and investment broker accounts.

slickwillie2001 on May 22, 2013 at 4:03 PM

Jail time can come with a contempt citation. Shame on Congress not pursuing the matter in civil court in regards to Holder, but letting him off the hook doesn’t save Lerner. And the history of this charge has led to testimony being given every time. Holder is the first to avoid giving testimony or jail time.

NotCoach on May 22, 2013 at 3:50 PM

From August 2012: Issa Sues Holder Over Fast And Furious Documents

Anti-Control on May 22, 2013 at 4:07 PM

I don’t think I can fathom what the organizational chart looks for the entire IRS. What a nightmare.

tommer74 on May 22, 2013 at 4:09 PM

William Taylor III apparently gave his client some very bad advice. It’s even stranger that Lerner took that advice and decided to speechify, thus waiving her 5th Amendment right, since her husband also is a lawyer.

Perhaps Taylor thought Issa would just agree to his request that Lerner not appear, so he didn’t adequately research the law.

LASue on May 22, 2013 at 4:13 PM

You notice how all these protected bureaucrats willing to sell out the country to the rogue White House are all women?

I wonder if it’s a matter of them being married, their husbands income, that gives them the hubris to conduct clearly illegal and unethical bureau actions? They don’t fear losing their job.

papertiger on May 22, 2013 at 4:21 PM


Does “It is being adjudicated in the court system” equate to “nothing” for you?

Obama’s invocation of executive privilege is under review, yes.

Holder’s being held in contempt of Congress is not. The DoJ declined to pursue the issue, and Congress has not pursued the issue in civil court.

Apparently the word is out that you can behave badly at congressional hearings without fear of reprisal: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/05/congressional-scandal-witnesses-91711.html?hp=r6

casuist on May 22, 2013 at 4:23 PM

From August 2012: Issa Sues Holder Over Fast And Furious Documents

Anti-Control on May 22, 2013 at 4:07 PM

You’re right and I should have known that. The lawsuit is still ongoing as far as I know.

NotCoach on May 22, 2013 at 4:23 PM

Well since those two low level employees in Cincinnati were able to get offices in DC and CA to do the same thing, I thought that they had super-powers! But that has proven not to be the case and the red flags at the bottom should have been wide-spread to indicate problems at the top.

ajacksonian on May 22, 2013 at 4:25 PM

You’re right and I should have known that. The lawsuit is still ongoing as far as I know.

The lawsuit is only over the issue of executive privilege, not Holder’s contempt of congress. From the very same article:

The consequences of a contempt resolution are mostly political.

casuist on May 22, 2013 at 4:26 PM

Did you “go” to Harvard Law alongside non-nonpartisan? Does “It is being adjudicated in the court system” equate to “nothing” for you?

From April 24: Judge skeptical of Odumba in executive privilege fight

What will you say if 0dumba loses there – call it “double-nothing”?

Anti-Control on May 22, 2013 at 3:54 PM

So? The judge can call it whatever he likes. He still can’t enforce any order he might choose to impose.

I.E. nothing. Double-nothing, if you prefer. And you know it.

runawayyyy on May 22, 2013 at 4:26 PM

William Taylor III apparently gave his client some very bad advice. It’s even stranger that Lerner took that advice and decided to speechify, thus waiving her 5th Amendment right, since her husband also is a lawyer.

Perhaps Taylor thought Issa would just agree to his request that Lerner not appear, so he didn’t adequately research the law.

LASue on May 22, 2013 at 4:13 PM

Obviously. But then again, I think our brilliant lawyers were trying to play a game of “optics” which ended up faring not-so-well.

Turtle317 on May 22, 2013 at 4:32 PM

One little guy at a mid market TV station outdid an entire Low Information Media Industrial Complex.

THIS is what journalism used to be. Digging, connecting some dots, reporting what you found.

MNHawk on May 22, 2013 at 4:33 PM

I wonder if Lerner will show up for her second appearance with the same brilliant legal-mind lawyer seated behind her.

casuist on May 22, 2013 at 4:35 PM

MTF on May 22, 2013 at 3:46 PM

Here’s a thread that needs pulling… Wonder how many times she shows up on the WH visitors log? Or did she only defer to the NETU goons to discern POSPOTUS’ wishes?

SteveInRTP on May 22, 2013 at 4:38 PM

So IRS IG Georgie (Russell George) and Mooch were once an item,

http://www.nationaljournal.com/congress/meet-the-man-who-set-off-the-irs-firestorm-20130522

And Ronald Machan, US attorney for the District of Columbia, who’s very close to Holder, is responsible for the “aggressive surveillance and phone record scrutiny at Fox News (implicating Rosen as a criminal conspirator) and is also a big donor to the Obama Campaign.

Oh, and Ronnie was also behind the David Gregory illegal gun magazine possession non-case.

wyntre9 on May 22, 2013 at 4:39 PM

This is just proof that Obama’s administration is Christian, despite all you conservatives denying it! After all, Matthew 6:3 says,

do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing

.
.
.
/s (in case it’s really necessary)

GWB on May 22, 2013 at 4:41 PM

Obama’s invocation of executive privilege is under review, yes.

Holder’s being held in contempt of Congress is not. The DoJ declined to pursue the issue, and Congress has not pursued the issue in civil court.

Apparently the word is out that you can behave badly at congressional hearings without fear of reprisal: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/05/congressional-scandal-witnesses-91711.html?hp=r6

casuist on May 22, 2013 at 4:23 PM

Let’s clear this up: I will admit upfront that I find your specific focus on the CoC charge to be ridiculously narrow to the point that it’s misleading and unhinged.

I asked you if you believe that Congress suing Holder in the civil court system is an unimportant, relatively meaningless occurrence – will you give a Y/N answer to that now?

Anti-Control on May 22, 2013 at 4:42 PM


I asked you if you believe that Congress suing Holder in the civil court system is an unimportant, relatively meaningless occurrence – will you give a Y/N answer to that now?

It would be the precise opposite of meaningless or unimportant if the judge in the case rules in favour of Issa to release the documents relating to Fast and Furious that were under subpoena. We might finally have something we can use to pin Eric “Uh, I don’t know” Holder to the wall. And this point is so painfully obvious that I really can’t believe that it’s an issue for you. What were you expecting me to say?

casuist on May 22, 2013 at 4:48 PM

So? The judge can call it whatever he likes. He still can’t enforce any order he might choose to impose.

I.E. nothing. Double-nothing, if you prefer. And you know it.

runawayyyy on May 22, 2013 at 4:26 PM

No, I don’t know that, and neither you do.

If you want, try again, but please, leave your negativity and emotion out of it!

Anti-Control on May 22, 2013 at 4:48 PM


If you want, try again, but please, leave your negativity and emotion out of it!

Dude. You’re the one who lost bladder control over a simple question of fact when I dared to suggest that Holder’s being held in contempt turned out to be a non-event. Funny that you should lecture anyone else about their level of emotion.

casuist on May 22, 2013 at 4:51 PM

Ben Swan may want to learn a lot about phone and internet security pronto. FoxNews and the AP can fill him in.

batter on May 22, 2013 at 5:11 PM

GWB on May 22, 2013 at 4:41 PM

Maybe that’s why Obumble spends all his time on the golf course – so he can claim he doesn’t know anything.
“Plausible deniability”

dentarthurdent on May 22, 2013 at 5:58 PM

Thanks Ed for making this a full blog entry. This video blew my mind. I downloaded it so I’ll have proof that it took place.

hamradio on May 22, 2013 at 6:45 PM

I wonder if Cindy Thomas is behind Anne Arundel County denying my application to resurface the existing decks on my home.
I speculated to my contractor that maybe they were targeting us because of our voter registration.
Sadly, not a stretch of the imagination these days.

egmont on May 22, 2013 at 6:59 PM

At some point when none of us were watching a coup took place or something.

casuist on May 22, 2013 at 3:39 PM
I have said a long time that’s pretty much what happened in Dallas at noon, November 22, 1963. The country changed forever at that instant, declining ever since.

Liam on May 22, 2013 at 3:43 PM

Who the Hel_ is Liam, and why is he/her here? To try to promote more Obama and less of a Republic?

On 11/22/63 I was in 5th grade and watched the entirety with CBS (all we had) and I thought that was when the DNC died too.

Sabercat2 on May 23, 2013 at 12:54 AM

It would be the precise opposite of meaningless or unimportant if the judge in the case rules in favour of Issa to release the documents relating to Fast and Furious that were under subpoena. We might finally have something we can use to pin Eric “Uh, I don’t know” Holder to the wall. And this point is so painfully obvious that I really can’t believe that it’s an issue for you. What were you expecting me to say?

casuist on May 22, 2013 at 4:48 PM

Dude. You’re the one who lost bladder control over a simple question of fact when I dared to suggest that Holder’s being held in contempt turned out to be a non-event. Funny that you should lecture anyone else about their level of emotion.

casuist on May 22, 2013 at 4:51 PM

Thank you for your mature, insightful input – you told me what I wanted to know! :)

Anti-Control on May 23, 2013 at 7:29 AM