IRS employees point fingers at Washington

posted at 8:41 am on June 6, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

So far, all of the higher-level officials at the IRS have all claimed that the targeting of conservative groups evolved organically from a few low-level employees facing an overwhelming rush of new tax-exempt applications in early 2010.  Data has now shown that the supposed “flood” didn’t materialize for at least another several months, and that dozens of IRS agents had knowledge of this effort.  The Wall Street Journal reviewed transcripts of Congressional investigations, and puts the final nail in the coffin for the “low-level employees” dodge — and names at least one name:

Two Internal Revenue Service employees in the agency’s Cincinnati office told congressional investigators that IRS officials in Washington helped direct the probe of tea-party groups that began in 2010.

Transcripts of the interviews, viewed Wednesday by The Wall Street Journal, appear to contradict earlier statements by top IRS officials, who have blamed lower-level workers in Cincinnati.

Elizabeth Hofacre said her office in Cincinnati sought help from IRS officials in the Washington unit that oversees tax-exempt organizations after she started getting the tea-party cases in April 2010. Ms. Hofacre said Carter Hull, an IRS lawyer in Washington, closely oversaw her work and suggested some of the questions asked applicants.

“I was essentially a front person, because I had no autonomy or no authority to act on [applications] without Carter Hull’s influence or input,” she said, according to the transcripts.

Mr. Hull could not be reached for comment.

Who is Carter Hull?  Carol Platt Liebau takes a look at his biographical information, but that won’t tell us as much as his position with the IRS org chart.  He’s prominent enough within the IRS to write its training materials, and apparently well-known enough in Cincinnati to be the go-to guy on drafting the intrusive and harassing questions asked of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.

That would tend to indicate that the effort did not have its genesis among these employees.  It’s probably rather rare that a low-level field agent would call Washington for legal advice without at least clearing the call with a supervisor first.  And this, which has already been published, makes it look like the genesis of the effort didn’t happen in Cincinnati at all:

In his interview with congressional investigators, he said a local manager—whose name was redacted in the transcripts—asked him to find all the tea-party applications in the office’s files, both pending and closed. The manager asked him to use the phrase “tea party” to conduct the search.

Around the same time, the local manager “said Washington, D.C., wanted seven” cases, Mr. Muthert said in the transcript. That month, he said, he “batched up” seven of the cases for “EO Technical,” a unit of the Exempt Organizations Division in Washington, then headed by Ms. Lerner, according to his interview.

Around May of 2010, Mr. Muthert said, another local official asked him to locate a couple more applications to send to Washington. Over the next two months, Mr. Muthert said, he located about 40 tea-party cases after expanding his search to include the terms “patriot” and “9/12.”

This strongly suggests that the idea started in Washington DC.  That would explain why agents in Cincinnati would call Washington DC for legal advice on how to grill conservatives, too.  None of this should be terribly surprising, either; bureaucracies don’t generate ideas from the bottom up but the top down.

Who gave Carter Hull his orders?  What did he do with the knowledge that Cincinnati agents were targeting Tea Party groups on behalf of the IRS headquarters?  I’m sure a House committee or two will be interested in talking with him to find out.

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the finger pointing begins.

phatfawzi on June 6, 2013 at 8:44 AM

I fully expect Obama to be sitting in the front row with the reporters during Jay Carney’s next press conference..

Inquiring minds want to know..

Electrongod on June 6, 2013 at 8:49 AM

…not to worry…JugEars jewels are covered!

KOOLAID2 on June 6, 2013 at 8:49 AM

When both management and the Union want to do something and the culture of the office is oriented in that direction anyway, it is asking someone at the bottom to be a hero to fight it. This is not a grassroots run amuck operation, it is a deliberate attempt to stymie wear down and plumb for useful information innocent citizens.

KW64 on June 6, 2013 at 8:49 AM

..at this point…what does it matter?

KOOLAID2 on June 6, 2013 at 8:50 AM

…that was SO log ago!

KOOLAID2 on June 6, 2013 at 8:50 AM

long

KOOLAID2 on June 6, 2013 at 8:50 AM

Is “Carter Hull” related to “Richard Windsor”.???

ted c on June 6, 2013 at 8:51 AM

Obama:

I have no knowledge of anything.It wasn’t my fault!

kingsjester on June 6, 2013 at 8:52 AM

Oh yeah

Thanks Ed!

And with cutter proudly saying she met with Shulman in the WH…..the hits just keep on coming

Over reach? Yeah
/

cmsinaz on June 6, 2013 at 8:53 AM

It helped get Barry O. elected. Game over.

albill on June 6, 2013 at 8:54 AM

It appears that the ‘low level rogue employees’ are resisting being thrown under the hopenchange bus.

Russ in OR on June 6, 2013 at 8:54 AM

+1eg

Heh

cmsinaz on June 6, 2013 at 8:55 AM

…Susan Rice will be on 6 or 7 talk shows this Sunday…to explain what happened at the IRS….

KOOLAID2 on June 6, 2013 at 8:55 AM

Anatomy of another fall guy.

VibrioCocci on June 6, 2013 at 8:56 AM

There’s plenty of room at the top for blame, but I have to ask… Did this same low-level employee ask for help on what to do with progressive organizations’ applications?

Just asking since, my experience tells me the feds are rife with progressives; top to bottom.

SteveInRTP on June 6, 2013 at 8:56 AM

….I’m just reading about it in the paper…right now…just like you folks!

KOOLAID2 on June 6, 2013 at 8:56 AM

KOOLAID2 on June 6, 2013 at 8:55 AM

It’s a video’s fault!

kingsjester on June 6, 2013 at 8:56 AM

Unfortunately in many ways business is very good for HA these days….

Much too good.

Our government is corrupt.

Sherman1864 on June 6, 2013 at 8:57 AM

So far, all of the higher-level officials at the IRS have all claimed that the targeting of conservative groups evolved organically from a few low-level employees facing an overwhelming rush of new tax-exempt applications in early 2010.

So the regime has been show to be Lying once again – but we can totally trust them with our phone metadata.

Galt2009 on June 6, 2013 at 8:57 AM

“It was because of a horrible YouTube video about the IRS…”

Akzed on June 6, 2013 at 8:57 AM

Lone wolves numbering in the hundreds, all working alone without any knowledge that so many of their fellow employees were doing the exact same thing; what are the odds.

Bishop on June 6, 2013 at 8:57 AM

…Susan Rice will be on 6 or 7 talk shows this Sunday…to explain what happened at the IRS….
KOOLAID2 on June 6, 2013 at 8:55 AM

Let me guess, it was the video, correct?

Sherman1864 on June 6, 2013 at 8:58 AM

+1 ted c
Interesting thought

cmsinaz on June 6, 2013 at 8:58 AM

…instead of tax records …they were requesting phone records…we told them they had the wrong phucking agency!

KOOLAID2 on June 6, 2013 at 8:58 AM

Chief Counsel at IRS is William Wilkins,who is a Presidential appointee.

Meet William J. Wilkins — the President’s Man at the IRS
via Townhall.com

America, meet Obama appointee William J. Wilkins — briefed on the political targeting of conservative groups as of 8/4/11. Did he tell The White House about it at the time? Not that Jay Carney is aware of, as he told a skeptical press corps yesterday:

Q And just one more thing. The report also says that on August 4th of 2011, that the chief counsel at the IRS — I believe that’s William Wilkins, appointed by President Obama in 2009; this is one of only two political appointees at the IRS — that the chief counsel was briefed on this back in 2011. Did he share that information with the White House?

MR. CARNEY: I’ll have to look at that. I don’t know that that’s the case. I would point you to the Treasury Department for more information about I think the meeting that we’re talking about or that is represented in that.

Q But shouldn’t he have? This is one of the President’s political appointees, chief counsel.

MR. CARNEY: What I can tell you is what I said yesterday: The President found out about this through media reports on Friday. That’s how I found out about it. . . . .

Q The purpose of briefing the chief counsel, according to the IG, was so that everybody would have the latest information on the issue. As the President’s political appointee over there, shouldn’t there have been an effort for him to brief you?

MR. CARNEY: Well, you can say what should have been or shouldn’t have been. What I can tell you is what to my knowledge I’m aware of.

Two exit questions:

(1) Is it credible that William J. Wilkins, a well-trained lawyer with a history of counseling 501(c)(3)’s, would have learned of the political targeting of groups and not informed The White House?

(2) How is it that the systematic harassment of conservative groups continued at the IRS even after President Obama’s man at the IRS knew of the previous targeting as of August 4, 2011? For example, the timeline entry for January 25, 2012 reads as follows:

The BOLO ["be on the lookout"] criteria were again updated. The criteria was revised as “political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding Government, educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, social economic reform/movement.”

petefrt on June 6, 2013 at 8:59 AM

Congress has ways to make him talk but do they have the guts, I don’t think so. This will be slow walked by both sides and it will be 2016 before we know it. We need some real leadership on the side of the Constitution in DC.

tim c on June 6, 2013 at 8:59 AM

…that was SO log ago!

KOOLAID2 on June 6, 2013 at 8:50 AM

Yeah, they say that about events of a few months ago and yet still whine about Boooooossh!

Galt2009 on June 6, 2013 at 8:59 AM

“It was because of a horrible YouTube video about the IRS…”

Akzed on June 6, 2013 at 8:57 AM

Hey those line dancers weren’t great but I wouldn’t call them horrible. ;-0

Happy Nomad on June 6, 2013 at 9:00 AM

“Mr. Hull, who asked you to single out Tea Party applications”?

“Geez,you know I just can’t remember”.

dirtseller on June 6, 2013 at 9:04 AM

This just in: it was all due to a video mocking Tea Partiers. Bill Maher arrested by a half dozen FBI Agents. Susan Rice to ht the talk show circuit on Sunday.

MaxMBJ on June 6, 2013 at 9:05 AM

Who gave Carter Hull his orders? What did he do with the knowledge that Cincinnati agents were targeting Tea Party groups on behalf of the IRS headquarters? I’m sure a House committee or two will be interested in talking with him to find out

…no…no…no no no!…he knows nothing about this!…all he ever did was attend an Easter Egg Hunt…at the White House!

KOOLAID2 on June 6, 2013 at 9:08 AM

So there you have it. Carter Hull done it! Issa will quickly disband any further investigation.

kpguru on June 6, 2013 at 9:10 AM

Um, let’s see… What will we need to continue these investigations?

Known associates.

Membership lists of groups these ‘agents’ may be a part of.

Have they, or will they ever be involved in a political action organization or run for any elected office.

Lastly, the content of their prayers.

socalcon on June 6, 2013 at 9:10 AM

socalcon on June 6, 2013 at 9:10 AM

Doh! And, of course, phone records.

socalcon on June 6, 2013 at 9:12 AM

A local talk radio host, citing an article (which I didn’t catch as a source), points to Robert Bauer, the chief legal counsel for Obysmal. Bauer, spouse of Anita Dunn, has had a beef with conservative groups for some time.

This scandal goes to the top, my friends.

onlineanalyst on June 6, 2013 at 9:18 AM

I ntrusive
R abid
S tormtroopers

Bitter Clinger on June 6, 2013 at 9:19 AM

I think it’s clear that the IRS acted stupidly.

Hey, how about a beer summit?

On the serious side, this scandal appears to have legs. And it looks like the web of lies we’ve been hearing are starting to fall apart completely.

Chris of Rights on June 6, 2013 at 9:23 AM

Oh, and I forgot to do my normal post for the IRS scandals, so here it is:

Shut. It. Down.

NOW.

Chris of Rights on June 6, 2013 at 9:23 AM

onlineanalyst on June 6, 2013 at 9:18 AM

Is this the article?

esr1951 on June 6, 2013 at 9:24 AM

drip…drip…drip

Zomcon JEM on June 6, 2013 at 9:25 AM

onlineanalyst on June 6, 2013 at 9:18 AM

Is this the article?

esr1951 on June 6, 2013 at 9:24 AM

Yes. I remember the talk-show host referring to J. Christian Adams.

onlineanalyst on June 6, 2013 at 9:31 AM

A local talk radio host, citing an article (which I didn’t catch as a source), points to Robert Bauer, the chief legal counsel for Obysmal. Bauer, spouse of Anita Dunn, has had a beef with conservative groups for some time.

This scandal goes to the top, my friends.

onlineanalyst on June 6, 2013 at 9:18 AM

Bauer is an incredibly vindictive prick. And I suspect he also doesn’t like the way his wife (old lizard tongue) got smoked out of the White House in Obama’s first term. I could see him pulling the strings with Jarrett.

Regarding the Cincinnati connection, I live in this area–suburb north of downtown. It’s a pretty fair place to live and raise a family. Among other things, however, it generally has a bit of a “small man’s complex” as a city. My family moved here from the Chicagoland area years ago, and I’ve always had the impression that the locals really resent when out-of-town elites hold their noses up about Cincinnati. Consequently, I am pretty confident that these local IRS employee are going to screw these DC types. Obama may have won Hamilton County here with the help of blacks and white guilt and idiotic white liberals, but the three counties surrounding Hamilton (Butler, Warren, and Clermont) and the KY county to the south of Cincinnati are all very GOP. The locals here will be cheering the local IRS personnel to finger the elites like you won’t believe.

BuckeyeSam on June 6, 2013 at 9:33 AM

Hey, in the hearing so far, Issa made a great point. At the IRS conferences, the IRS gave its employees some significant gifts–that is, business gifts exceeding de minimis value–without reporting the value of the gifts as income on the W-2s of those employees. He went so far as to say the IRS committed “tax evasion.”

AWESOME.

BuckeyeSam on June 6, 2013 at 9:46 AM

Good, I am glad fingerpointing has started. Now let’s throw out some charges against some mid level IRS people, and see how far this goes.

melle1228 on June 6, 2013 at 9:48 AM

Looks as though Linchpins of Liberty, et al. may have a new deponent to notice up.

Barnestormer on June 6, 2013 at 10:01 AM

Carter Hull.

Will he become another John Erlichman or another Buffy Wicks? (Remember her?)

rrpjr on June 6, 2013 at 10:12 AM

Carter Hull, ummmmm, didn’t Bush appoint him?

Kissmygrits on June 6, 2013 at 10:13 AM

When both management and the Union want to do something and the culture of the office is oriented in that direction anyway, it is asking someone at the bottom to be a hero to fight it. This is not a grassroots run amuck operation, it is a deliberate attempt to stymie wear down and plumb for useful information innocent citizens.

KW64 on June 6, 2013 at 8:49 AM

You forgot to include, …and that someone at the bottom agrees with the targeting…

WitchDoctor on June 6, 2013 at 10:14 AM

facing an overwhelming rush of new tax-exempt applications in early 2010.

Such a lame excuse. They felt overwhelmed so they further overwhelmed themselves by prolonging the process and asking even more intrusive questions? PUAHAHA!

jawkneemusic on June 6, 2013 at 10:20 AM

You guys have this all wrong. I told you already it was just 2 rouge low-level employees in the Cincinnati office. Now run outside and play like good doggies.

Didn’t I just tell you, Get Off My Lawn!

D-fusit on June 6, 2013 at 10:24 AM

Such a lame excuse. They felt overwhelmed so they further overwhelmed themselves by prolonging the process and asking even more intrusive questions? PUAHAHA!

jawkneemusic on June 6, 2013 at 10:20 AM

Beyond that, it a crap assertion. The number of applications didn’t spike until 2011. The criteria were introduced before the spike.

BuckeyeSam on June 6, 2013 at 10:25 AM

***

Didn’t I just tell you, Get Off My Lawn!

D-fusit on June 6, 2013 at 10:24 AM

And Rep. McDermott, from WA, add, “NOW, STOP IT!”

BuckeyeSam on June 6, 2013 at 10:26 AM

BuckeyeSam on June 6, 2013 at 10:26 AM

Ha ha ha…..

D-fusit on June 6, 2013 at 10:27 AM

Career bureaucrats have no reason to initiate this kind of abuse. They’d get paid no more than they were, and they’d be risking their jobs for no payoff. The real payoff here is political, so it must have originated with a political appointee — someone who would benefit from doing political favors for someone else who could show their appreciation in the form of political promotions. That means pretty high level offices in Washington. White House personnel are among the suspects.

Socratease on June 6, 2013 at 10:50 AM

Put 20000 monkeys IRS employees in a bunch of rooms and eventually they will hammer out shakespeare a way to screw only conservative groups.

Carter Hull? I personally know 3 Carter Hulls.

can_con on June 6, 2013 at 11:00 AM

baby killers, liars and theives, oh my…..

crosshugger on June 6, 2013 at 11:22 AM

democrats, living up to the party symbol…..jackasses…..

crosshugger on June 6, 2013 at 11:23 AM

I said from the beginning that we will eventually find out that obama’s campaign was involved in this matter. As we peel back the layers of the onion we are getting closer to Obama. It’s just a matter of time.

Ta111 on June 6, 2013 at 11:34 AM

…Susan Rice will be on 6 or 7 talk shows this Sunday…to explain what happened at the IRS….

KOOLAID2 on June 6, 2013 at 8:55 AM

Actually, that’s the UN ambassador’s job, so it’ll be Samantha Power.

KS Rex on June 6, 2013 at 12:09 PM

Is “Carter Hull” related to “Richard Windsor”.???

ted c on June 6, 2013 at 8:51 AM

Darn you, Ted, get outta my head. I’ve been looking for missing socks and it looks like they’ve all been absconded by the federal government to make puppets.

Fallon on June 6, 2013 at 12:16 PM

Shellacking

Schadenfreude on June 6, 2013 at 2:33 PM

So what?

The 0bama Regime looks at the results from the 2012 election cycle and recognizes that the GOPe, along with its ‘supporters’ are a bunch of weak kneed, linguini spined, lethargic LOSERS so he will continue to do whatever he wants to do.

Always think back to your efforts in 2012 when the Democrats moon you repeatedly this year, and remember why they are laughing at YOU.

America always gets the government it EARNS.

DannoJyd on June 6, 2013 at 4:36 PM

Nose hairs.

LibertyJane on June 6, 2013 at 6:58 PM

I wonder who will be the first witness (under oath) who uses the patent phrase: “I don’t recall.”
Made famous of course by the Smartest Woman in the World when she was trying to explain the recovery of the those long lost Rose law firm’s missing billing records AND the 90 or so ‘classified’ FBI files on Republicans & Democrats.
Anyone remember her … a.k.a. KILLERY ??

Missilengr on June 6, 2013 at 7:10 PM

I don’t recall.
What difference, at this point, does it matter?

I bumped my head and I don’t recall. Yea, that’s what happend!

Killery Rodham Clinton

Missilengr on June 6, 2013 at 7:12 PM

First of all, I’d like to say hi to the NSA, hope you enjoy watching people complain about your boss.

As far as the IRS is concerned, my believe is that, after 2010, the Democrats, and Obama, knew they had to deal with the tea party, before the 2012 election. They couldn’t take any chances losing in 2012 because their signature achievement, the one they pulled all the stops out to pass, Obamacare, could be repealed. There is little doubt, in my mind at least, this was a concerted effort, just like passing Obamacare via reconciliation, just like Rahming through a stimulus package to reward union members for their support, just like the lies spread about the tea party being racists, all of this was an effort to get things done their way, with little opposition. They accomplished their goal, now let them live with the results.

bflat879 on June 6, 2013 at 10:23 PM