How many IRS employees were involved in targeting conservative groups for “extra scrutiny,” delays, and harassment?  The IRS insisted that the issue was limited to “a few low-level employees” in one office.  When it came time to secure computers and lock down files for investigators, though, the IRS concept of “few” seems a little … bloated:

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 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.

You think? The IRS says that the number simply reflects their desire to be responsive, which would be a first, but that doesn’t pass the laugh test.  If the practice was contained to just “a few” people working on their own without orders, there is no way that you’d have eighty-eight people connected to it.  Unless the IRS wants to argue that it’s supervision is so poor and ineffective that 88 employees can conspire to target people for their political beliefs and no one in authority would have the first clue about it, that’s an absurd posture to take.  Don’t bet against that argument getting rolled out at some point, though.

In related news, the IRS has also stiffed the Senate Finance Committee’s demand for documentation:

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) declined Friday afternoon to meet a Senate Finance Committee deadline for answering detailed questions about the origins of the IRS scandal. The questions had been submitted jointly nearly two weeks ago by Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT).

In a joint statement to Breitbart News, Baucus and Hatch said:

“It’s disappointing that the IRS failed to produce any of the documents requested by the Committee.

“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 IRS needs to do much better.”

It’s one thing to stiff the House, where Republicans control the Ways and Means Committee and the optics are a little (but not a lot) more partisan.  Baucus and Hatch took pains to make the Senate committee request bipartisan and reasonable, and yet … the IRS couldn’t bring itself to comply here, either.  If they want to leave the impression that they’re haughty and unaccountable — or more accurately, even more so than normally thought — they’re doing a bang-up job this month.

We may start seeing a few subpoenas from both chambers of Congress soon … and by “a few,” I could mean 88 or more.