Today there was a bombshell hearing in Congress related to the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups.
Two people testifying were Elizabeth Hofacre and Carter Hull. Hofacre was one of those “low-level, rogue agents” who worked for the Office of Exempt Organization (EO) in Cincinnati. Carter Hull – a tax law specials and 48 year civil servant – also worked for the Office of Exempt Organization but in Washington DC.
Hofacre explained in her testimony the process by which these Tea Party organizations were scrutinized. She explains that in late April 2010, she was assigned by her supervisor to handle all applications for Tea Party groups seeking tax exempt status. At the time, Hofacre was also instructed to work with Carter Hull who was in EO Technical in Washington, D.C. She goes on the explain the process of drafting letters for these Tea Part groups. Hofacre says, “In my experience, this was an unusual process—I never before had to send development letters that I had drafted to EO Technical for review, and I never before had to send copies of applications and responses that were assigned to me to EO Technical for review. I was frustrated because of what I perceived as micromanagement with respect to these applications.” She was so frustrated, in fact, that she eventually transferred to another unit. By August, the IRS had developed the infamous BOLO list, with instruction on how to handle these applications.
Based on this testimony alone, we know that the targeting of these groups was not isolated to just Cincinnati and went all the way to Washington in the early stages. So much for the lie that this administration has tried to feed us, whether it be from Steven Miller or Jay Carney or anyone who desperately tried to convince us that this was isolated and rogue.
Now to Carter Hull. As I mentioned, Hull is a tax special who worked at the Exempt Organization office in Washington, and he continued to point the finger up the chain of command. The head of Hull's DC unit, Michael Seto, says that he was told the Tea Party applications had to go through a “multi-layer review.” He was told this by none other than Lois Lerner, the director of the Tax Exemption Organizations division of the IRS. And the kicker: Part of that multi-layer process requested from Lerner included review by her senior advisor and … the Chief Counsel's office. The Chief Counsel, William Wilkins, is one of only two political appointees made by the president. Needless to say, Hull described this process as an “unusual turn of events.”
Needless to say, the initial story we were originally fed continues to unravel. As the investigation continues, we will learn more details and see if the finger pointing continues up the chain of command.