In recent interviews a bipartisan group of lawmakers has been conducting into the IRS scandal where the agency was deliberately targeting conservative groups, Ohio IRS employees are clear that they are being “thrown under the bus,” and that the “direction to single out conservative groups came from the Washington headquarters in March 2010.”
This runs contrary to assertions that only a couple of “rogue” employees took it upon themselves to target conservative groups.
Recently it has been reported that the internal IRS investigation has now collected documents from 88 employees.
One of the employees hit back against accusations that lower-level employees were responsible for the scrutiny of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status in 2010, telling congressional investigators that the Ohio employees were being “thrown underneath the bus.”
A second “more senior” Cincinnati IRS employee said they began seeking other jobs when they were assigned to look out for applications from tea party groups, because they felt it was inappropriate.
According to excerpts released to CNN by the oversight committee, one of the employees said their supervisor told them the direction to single out conservative groups came from the Washington headquarters in March 2010.
By April, seven hard-copy versions of applications had been sent to Washington, the employee said. In addition, the employee said Washington had requested part of an application by two specific groups, though the excerpts do not disclose the names of those two groups.
Read partial excerpts of the interviews below:
One Cincinnati IRS employee interviewed by the Oversight Committee rejects the White House assertion (that the Cincinnati office was responsible) and points to Washington as being responsible for targeting effort (from 5/30 interview):
Q In early 2010, was there a time when you became aware of applications that referenced Tea Party or other conservative groups?
A In March of 2010, I was made aware.
Q Okay. Now, was there a point around this time period when [your supervisor] asked you to do a search for similar applications?
Q To the best of your recollection, when was this request made?
A Sometime in early March of 2010.