Transcripts: IRS targeting deliberate and political

posted at 8:01 am on June 3, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

This week, Darrell Issa will begin new hearings into political corruption at the IRS, hearing from some of the “low-level employees” that IRS executives and the Obama administration blame for the targeting of conservative groups.  Issa has also released passages from depositions taken from these witnesses, who tell quite a different story.  Rather than go along with the company line that the targeting of conservatives was an inadvertent outcome from the reaction to Citizens United, they claim that the targeting was both deliberate policy and aimed specifically at conservatives and Republicans.

One employee was frustrated by dictates coming down from Washington on this policy:

And another more senior IRS Cincinnati employee complained about micromanagement from D.C.:

Q: But you specifically recall that the BOLO terms included “Tea Party?”  
A: Yes, I do.  
Q: And it was your understanding ‑‑ was it your understanding that the purpose of the BOLO was to identify Tea Party groups?  
A: That is correct.  
Q: Was it your understanding that the purpose of the BOLO was to identify conservative groups?  
A: Yes, it was.  
Q: Was it your understanding that the purpose of the BOLO was to identify Republican groups?  
A: Yes, it was. 

Another was at least led to believe that this policy came from IRS headquarters:

Q: So is it your perspective that ultimately the responsible parties for the decisions that were reported by the IG are not in the Cincinnati office? 
A: I don’t know how to answer that question.  I mean, from an agent standpoint, we didn’t do anything wrong.  We followed directions based on other people telling us what to do. 
Q: And you ultimately followed directions from Washington; is that correct? 
A: If direction had come down from Washington, yes. 
Q: But with respect to the particular scrutiny that was given to Tea Party applications, those directions emanated from Washington; is that right? 
A: I believe so.

Some of these cases got sent to HQ, because as this employee explained, that’s who wanted them in the first place:

Q: Okay.  Now, was there a point around this time period when [your supervisor] asked you to do a search for similar applications?  
A: Yes.
Q: To the best of your recollection, when was this request made? 
A: Sometime in early March of 2010.

******
Q: Did [your supervisor] give you any indication of the need for the search, any more context?  
A: He told me that Washington, D.C., wanted some cases.

******
Q: So as of April 2010, these 40 cases were held at that moment in your group; is that right? 

A: Some were. 

Q:  How many were held there? 

A: Less than 40.  Some went to Washington, D.C. 

Q: Okay.  How many went to Washington, D.C.? 

A: I sent seven. 

And here’s the kicker — at least some of these cases that went to IRS HQ in Washington DC were by special request:

Q: Did anyone else ever make a request that you send any cases to Washington? 
A:  [Different IRS employee] wanted to have two cases that she couldn’t ‑‑ Washington, D.C. wanted them, but she couldn’t find the paper.  So she requested me, through an email, to find these cases for her and to send them to Washington, D.C. 
Q: When was this, what time frame? 
A: I don’t recall the time frame, maybe May of 2010.

******

Q: But just to be clear, she told you the specific names of these applicants.  
A: Yes. 
Q: And she told you that Washington, D.C. had requested these two specific applications be sent to D.C.  
A: Yes, or parts of them.  

******

Q: Okay.  So she asked you to send particular parts of these applications.  
A: Mm‑hmm. 
Q: And that was unusual.  Did you say that?  
A: Yes.
Q: And she indicated that Washington had requested these specific parts of these specific applications; is that right? 
A: Correct. 

So do these employees believe the spin that this is just a few rogue employees?  Hardly:

Q: And you’ve heard, I’m sure, news reports about individuals here in Washington saying this is a problem that was originated in and contained in the Cincinnati office, and that it was the Cincinnati office that was at fault.  What is your reaction to those types of stories?
[…]
A: Well, it’s hard to answer the question because in my mind I still hear people saying we were low‑level employees, so we were lower than dirt, according to people in D.C.  So, take it for what it is.  They were basically throwing us underneath the bus.

The explanation offered is absurd on its face for anyone with some familiarity with bureaucracies.  They don’t innovate — they calcify.  The only way that an organization of this size decides to start targeting specific groups is if its management decides to do it, and in this case, that decision would have to come from pretty high up the ladder.  Having the home office request specific cases makes that much more plain, and suggests that the cases were being produced for a purpose.

Whose cases got this special attention? Who asked for the files?  Were any of these files among those that mysteriously got leaked in 2012, or were related to unsubstantiated claims about tax records by Democrats in the last election cycle?  Perhaps Issa will get to the bottom of those questions over the next two weeks.

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At this point there is only one conclusion you can make on the Obama administration and it’s allies: “Lying Liars, Lying”.

Tater Salad on June 3, 2013 at 10:28 AM

If the Administration’s take was accurate, it would mark a major achievement. A government employee was showing initiative and drive!

hawksruleva on June 3, 2013 at 10:31 AM

A: I don’t know how to answer that question. I mean, from an agent standpoint, we didn’t do anything wrong. We followed directions based on other people telling us what to do.

I violently disagree with the “just following orders” defense. Clearly specific groups and individuals were being targeted for political purposes. Clearly this was illegal and/or unethical. And agents who just did what they were told did do something wrong as surely as it was wrong to work as a guard in a Nazi concentration camp. These agents should be reprimanded at the very least.

Happy Nomad on June 3, 2013 at 8:11 AM

No. Fired at the very least. These IRS people absolutely knew what they were doing was wrong. One of these employees even claimed to have gone looking for a different job because he was uncomfortable with what was going on.

Q: Earlier I believe you informed us that the primary reason for applying for another job in July [2010] was because of the micromanagement from [Washington, DC, IRS Attorney], is that correct?
A: Right. It was the whole Tea Party. It was the whole picture. I mean, it was the micromanagement. The fact that the subject area was extremely sensitive and it was something that I didn’t want to be associated with.
Q: Why didn’t you want to be associated with it?
A: For what happened now. I mean, rogue agent? Even though I was taking all my direction from EO Technical [Washington, D.C], I didn’t want my name in the paper for being this rogue agent for a project I had no control over.
Q: Did you think there was something inappropriate about what was happening in 2010?
A: Yes. The inappropriateness was not processing these applications fairly and timely.

Some of these employees want to claim they’re nothing more than trained poodles? No dice.
Every single one of them should have become a whistle blower.

lynncgb on June 3, 2013 at 10:32 AM

Leftist-free thread.

PALIN!

….did that work?

Bishop on June 3, 2013 at 9:36 AM

Sure, I’ll talk about that Woman….

..hey BlueGill, Lostmymothertoachainsaw, Non-Thinker, LibDied,

Did any on you read the writeup about this Woman’s speech
to a Graduating HS class this past weekend??

Oh, you did, and you’re STILL apoplectic about it….

ToddPA on June 3, 2013 at 10:38 AM

If you had any doubt that this story is extremely damaging to the president, David Plouffe’s attack on Issa this morning is like thunder before rain. A hard rain. And it’s starting to fall.

I love to play in the rain.

MaxMBJ on June 3, 2013 at 10:46 AM

Falls in line with the quote “… reward our friends and punish our enemies …” pretty well, huh?
Oh, and I heard 2 lefties on radio over the weekend alluding to “everyone does it”. One on Friday saying that the IRS has been used to target political opponents since Eishehower, and another who stated that “liberal groups have been targeted too”. Of course, no cases and no evidence, but “low info” individuals certainly beleive this nonsense. Honestly, if this had happened when W or Bush 1 or Reagan were in charge, you think the offended parties wouldn’t have been trotted out by the MSM for the world to see? HAL, nonpartisan, bueller?

mel23059 on June 3, 2013 at 10:50 AM

It is simply time for a Special Prosecutor.

SC.Charlie on June 3, 2013 at 10:53 AM

Lying, in the name of Godless socialism and gating sufficient power to take down America and individual freedom, is considered a virtue by the diabolical left.

Don L on June 3, 2013 at 10:57 AM

So Obama used the IRS for campaign purposes. Big surprise!

The Obama campaign and Organizing For America should be required to reimburse the government for this illegal use of government resources. If there is not enough money to pay for this then the costs should flow to Obama’s personal funds.

In as much as this effected more than the presidential race the DNC funds should also be seized to compensate the government for this abuse.

Bankrupt the Democrats!
(They are already morally bankrupt)

The Rock on June 3, 2013 at 10:59 AM

Some of these employees want to claim they’re nothing more than trained poodles? No dice.
Every single one of them should have become a whistle blower.

lynncgb on June 3, 2013 at 10:32 AM

Echoes of Nuremburg reverb across the nation: “I was only following orders…”
“Guilty as charged!”

Don L on June 3, 2013 at 10:59 AM

But … but … but … the inspector general cleared the IRS! He said it wasn’t political! And … and … and … you’re all racists!!!

PackerBronco on June 3, 2013 at 11:02 AM

They can of course offer up some names for reduced sentences.

Zomcon JEM on June 3, 2013 at 11:02 AM

The schmuck from new york just said withholder did nothing wrong on FOX news.

VegasRick on June 3, 2013 at 11:04 AM

Interestingly enough, yesterday our resident outspoken left-of-liberal professor argued that if our LFODs, sesquis, verbaluces, etc. don’t post outright rejections regarding such actions then it’s proof that they support the position and the evil behind it.
 
(Thanks again for establishing that standard, libfreeordie.)
 
Say, it doesn’t look like any of our liberals have posted on this thread…

rogerb on June 3, 2013 at 11:35 AM

This issue now needs to be pursued as both a criminal case AND as a civil rights case.

The election should be challenged also…although the passage of time probably makes that moot.

There needs to be actual meaningful firings and jail terms.

landlines on June 3, 2013 at 11:43 AM

“I mean, from an agent standpoint, we didn’t do anything wrong. We followed directions based on other people telling us what to do.”

I haven’t seen any specific information as to which laws, other than vague references to civil rights laws, make the targeting of various groups based on viewpoint illegal. The first order of business if there are not such laws is for everyone to pressure congress to make such targeting by the IRS and regulatory agencies a felony with jail time and fines along with loss of job.

The laws should apply equally to agents as well as higher ups. I was “just following orders” as quoted above should not be a defense. Such treatment would give us lots of eyes in the agencies to head off such activities in the future.

Nomas on June 3, 2013 at 12:12 PM

“Perhaps Issa will get to the bottom of those questions over the next two weeks.”

Let me save the taxpayer a gazillion dollars spent on Congressional Kabuki Theatre: The person that coordinated the targeting is the same Cabinet member that visited the Whitehouse a gazillion times. And guess where his orders come from.

Tsar of Earth on June 3, 2013 at 12:49 PM

A: I don’t know how to answer that question. I mean, from an agent standpoint, we didn’t do anything wrong. We followed directions based on other people telling us what to do.

We just put them on the trains. We had no idea where they were going or what was going to happen to them when they got there…..

God help us.

Tenwheeler on June 3, 2013 at 12:57 PM

“I was just following orders.”

That will be on the headstone of the IRS.

ajacksonian on June 3, 2013 at 1:02 PM

BUSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

gerrym51 on June 3, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Comment pages: 1 2