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?
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: