IRS “Rogue” Agents Micromanaged to Death by DC

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Lois Lerner weasel of the week

Ironic photo of Lois Lerner, looking more and more like one of the weasels-in-charge of targeting

Two IRS agents have now pointed the finger at DC attorney, Carter Hull, for targeting the tea parties. He worked under Lois Lerner and her boss at the time was Sarah Hall Ingram.

The testimony of the agents conflicts with statements by IRS officials Lerner, Miller, Shulman, George and statements by others in the administration.

The Wall Street Journal has an article today reporting about the transcripts of interviews by congressional investigators with two low-level employees in the Cincinnati IRS office – Elizabeth Hofacre and Gary Muthert.

The testimony by the witnesses contradicts the testimony by top IRS officials who said that the targeting was the direct result of two rogue agents in Cincinnati.

It seems the low-level agents in Cincinnati don’t like being blamed for something they were directed to do by DC.

Elizabeth Hofacre started receiving the tea party cases in April 2010. Her Cincinnati office asked for help from IRS officials in the DC unit that oversees tax-exempt organizations.

Hofacre said DC attorney, Carter Hull, then began micromanaging her and suggested questions to ask. She said that she had no authority to act without him.

In April 2010, Hull personally targeted the Albuquerque Tea Party: http://media.aclj.org/pdf/irs-letter-from-washington-dc-office-unredacted.pdf

He was and perhaps still is an attorney in the tax-exempt office. At the time he wrote this letter, Sarah Hall Ingram was in charge of tax-exempts. Ingram’s underling was Lois Lerner.

It might be time to offer immunity to Lerner for her testimony. Ingram is now in charge of the enforcement arm of Obamacare at the IRS.

The transcripts indicate that the targeting began with a search conducted by Gary Muthert in March 2010 at the request of an unnamed local manager who told him “Washington, D.C. wanted some cases.” The cases were then handed off to Hofacre the next month.

Hofacre said she was “outraged” and “furious” when it appeared that Lois Lerner was blaming them.

Lerner said during a conference call with reporters in May of this year that IRS employees in Cincinnati “decided to centralize [tea party cases] so we’d have consistency.

Lerner added the problem was that these rogue agents added actual case names to the list. She said “…They added “tea party” and “patriot” to the list of cases that should be centralized.”

Steven Miller also blamed “people in Cincinnati” whom he claimed said on their own, “let’s centralize these cases.”

The IG, J. Russell George, also blamed the mistakes on Cincinnati management but he did not do an investigation, he conducted an audit.

Mr. Muthert who began the research in March 2010 said that the local manager told him to find all the tea party applications in the files, both pending and closed. He told Muthert to include the phrase “tea party” in the search.

About the same time, the manager asked for seven cases to send to DC. Muthert  sent them to the EO technical unit of exempt organizations in DC headed by Lois Lerner.

About May 2010, Muthert said another local official told him to locate a couple more cases. Over the next two months he bundled about 40 tea party cases after expanding the search to include “patriot” and “9/12.”

Hofacre, who was in charge of the cases from April until October 2010, was told by another agent to get in touch with the technical unit in DC for guidance on her 40 to 60 cases.

Hull then e-mailed Hofacre letters that he had already sent to tea party applicants. He told her to use them as a foundation for her review of cases and her own letters.

Hofacre said she found the intervention “demeaning.” She thought it was “ridiculous” and she felt in terms of timeliness and fairness, the applicants were being deprived of their rights. She said that throughout, she was “being micromanaged to death.” She was frustrated. She asked for and was given a transfer out of that office.

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