Lame Excuses for the IRS Scandal Get Lamer and Bite More Dust

Recall that from the outset, after it was revealed that the IRS was targeting conservatives and conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status, IRS-apologists came out with the claim that the unwarranted scrutiny was the result of staffers in Ohio offices who went rogue.  As such, according to the apologists, we were not supposed to think that the agency as a whole was rotten to the core; just that there were a few isolated bad apples who in no way, shape, or form were representative of the IRS as a whole.

That theory never held much water to begin with. It holds even less water now

An IRS staffer in Cincinnati told congressional investigators that a Washington official was the driving force behind the targeting of Tea Party organizations in 2010, and showed unprecedented interest in those groups’ tax-exempt applications.

Elizabeth Hofacre, the Cincinnati staffer, said that she started receiving applications from Tea Party groups to sift through in April, 2010. Hofacre’s handling of those cases, she said, was highly influenced by Carter Hull, an IRS lawyer in Washington.

Hofacre said that she integrated questions from Hull into her follow-ups with Tea Party groups, and that Hull had to approve the letters seeking more information that she sent out to those organizations. That process, she said, was both unusual and “demeaning.”

“One of the criteria is to work independently and do research and make decisions based on your experience and education,” Hofacre said, according to transcripts reviewed by The Hill. “Whereas in this case, I had no autonomy at all through the process.”

“I thought it was over the top,” she added, in interviews held by investigators in both parties from the House Oversight and Ways and Means committees. “I am not sure where it came from, but it was a bit unusual.”

Hofacre, who oversaw Tea Party applications from April, 2010, to October, 2010, said Hull eventually became slow to endorse her letters. She eventually took another position within the IRS that year, after dealing with what she called “irate” applicants.

“And I see their point,” Hofacre said. “Even if a decision isn’t favorable, they deserve some kind of treatment and they deserve, you know, timeliness.”

The story goes on to state the following entirely unremarkable conclusion:

[t]he investigators’ interviews with Hofacre and another Cincinnati staffer, Gary Muthert, cast some doubt on statements from the former acting IRS commissioner, Steven Miller, and other agency officials that the targeting of Tea Party groups was limited to Cincinnati.

  1. billy

    Who has the authority to prosecute the people responsible?

  2. tabula rasa

    Wow!!  Their stories “cast some doubt.”

    How about “directly contradict.”  

    Maybe it’s too early to say that their stories demonstrate that the higher-ups in DC are a bunch of “lying, corrupt political operatives,” but we’ll be there soon enough.

  3. DocJay
    billy: Who has the authority to prosecute the people responsible? · 19 minutes ago

    If no one goes down here, maybe we are in a coup.

  4. MJBubba

    The Republicans in Congress are being cautioned.  If they persist, then they will be accused of wasting time and money, neglecting the peoples’ business, and obsessing on a witch hunt.

    We need to encourage them to persevere.   They need to hear this encouragement from the “center-right” as well as from the Tea Party.

    They need to brush off these cautions.  It is obvious that several high-level witnesses are guilty of lying to congress.   It is also obvious that there is complicity at very high levels.  They should be patient and persevering.  Keep digging; keep calling witnesses, keep unraveling.   Wait; don’t start a prosecution until you see the whites of their eyes.

  5. Yeah...ok.

    Every bit as lame – the public’s reaction.

    We all pretty much agree that the ballot box is the probably the best tool for long term self rule. The IRS has been caught using its vast power to distort the results of our ballot box tool. So we’ve lost that way to address our grievances.

    The power of the 1st amendment has been seemingly neutered. Is it true that no United States based sources broke the news of these data collection stories? The Lewinsky story was spiked by Newsweek (or time), The NYT changed a recent editorial. All these bigwigs in the MSM are married to overpaid crap weasels in Washington; the MSM folks who aren’t related to Washington are afraid of an IRS audit.

    How do we get their attention if the ballot box is broken and the press is corrupted?

  6. Yeah...ok.
    MJBubba: The Republicans in Congress are …

    …  It is also obvious that there is complicity at very high levels.  They should be patient and persevering.  Keep digging; keep calling witnesses, keep unraveling.   Wait; don’t start a prosecution until you see the whites of their eyes. · 31 minutes ago

    John Boehner has lived his whole life near Cincinnati. I’d be shocked to learn that no one from the area ever gave him a hint that something odd was happening at the local IRS facility.

    I doubt if any Republicans who are currently working on passing the people’s comprehensive immigration bill are interested in a prosecution over some minor TEA party issues.

    The sequester will prevent too much investigation.

  7. billy
    DocJay

    billy: Who has the authority to prosecute the people responsible? · 19 minutes ago

    If no one goes down here, maybe we are in a coup. · 27 minutes ago

    Did you ever think the day would come when we would use that kind of language to describe American politics?

  8. LHFry

    Organizing for America (Obama for America) is a 501(c)(4).   How long did it take for them?   And they do blatantly political stuff.

  9. Carver

    I woke up thinking that the NSA leaks are a convenient distraction from the IRS scandal which, to me, is far worse. Of course as I revise a sentence here and there I wonder if the NSA is “literally watching my thoughts form” – which would be fairly painful until the coffee really takes effect. Regarding the NSA, given that the technology exists to mine data like this, isn’t it likely that someone somewhere would extract this data by hook or crook anyway? Might as well be our guys right? Anyway – Abolish the IRS!

  10. aardo vozz

    Indeed, the IRS excuses are biting more dust. However, based on news reports, what most people think the IRS SHOULD be biting would be a CoC violation.

  11. James Gawron

    Pejman,

    I just got back on line.  Your post is very very interesting.   Ms. Hofacre’s detailed and believable testimony is exactly what is needed.  Step by step the process nails down the reality.  Next step is to drag Carter Hull before the committee and see what he has to say.

    A bulldog latches on and doesn’t let go.

    Regards,

    Jim

  12. Doug Scott

    Nothing to worry about here.  If you are audited by the IRS because you’re a Tea Party member, the NSA has all your records.

  13. Carver
    Doug Scott: Nothing to worry about here.  If you are audited by the IRS because you’re a Tea Party member, the NSA has all your records. · 9 minutes ago

    Yeah there’s plenty to worry about. But if, as I suggest, somebody is going to have those records anyway would it not be prudent to eliminate the agency whose mission is to delegitimize normal ambition and productivity? Eliminate the agency already proven – prior to any scandal having emerged – to be a threat to normal law abiding citizens and allow the agency charged with protecting those same people do its job.

  14. aardo vozz
    Doug Scott: Nothing to worry about here.  If you are audited by the IRS because you’re a Tea Party member, the NSA has all your records. · 4 hours ago

    I feel better already. If this is true,then audits are no longer necessary: The IRS can just call the NSA.

  15. Sisyphus

    The NSA and IRS scandals complement each other nicely, actually. They tell us the massive NSA data dragnet is just peachy because our selfless civil servants commute on angels’ wings each day, and the IRS goose stepping is no problem because it was just a few of Constitutionalists, patriots, and jews, nobody honest hard working Americans care about. 

    These two matter because Dems in solid blue states are starting to wind back their unqualified support for their dear leader. 

    And the AP and Fox scandals matter because the lap dog media has been bit in the whatsits after sitting on it for over five years.

    Imagine that, the Tea Party was right all along. What next?

  16. Pejman Yousefzadeh
    C

    The Justice Department.

    billy: Who has the authority to prosecute the people responsible? · June 8, 2013 at 11:18pm

  17. Sisyphus
    Pejman Yousefzadeh: The Justice Department. · June 11, 2013 at 8:01am

    billy: Who has the authority to prosecute the people responsible? · June 8, 2013 at 11:18pm

    Didn’t we used to have one of those?

  18. Pejman Yousefzadeh
    C

    The tragedy is that we still do, but it is not doing its job.

    Sisyphus

    Pejman Yousefzadeh: The Justice Department. · June 11, 2013 at 8:01am

    billy: Who has the authority to prosecute the people responsible? · June 8, 2013 at 11:18pm

    Didn’t we used to have one of those? · June 16, 2013 at 5:15am