Internal Revenue Service officials in an attempt to explain the agency’s decision to target conservative groups with “substantial delays” and often “unnecessary” information requests claimed Wednesday that it was all the work of two “rogue employees.”
“[T]he IRS has identified two ‘rogue’ employees in the agency’s Cincinnati office as being principally responsible for the ‘overly aggressive’ handling of requests by conservative groups for tax-exempt status,” CNN reports, citing a congressional source.
Steven Miller, former Acting Internal Revenue Service Commissioner, said the two “rogues” had already been disciplined, the source adds.
A “second source said Miller emphasized that the problem with IRS handling of tax-exempt status for tea party groups was not limited to these two employees,” the CNN report notes.
Still, boiling this scandal down to just two employees is a little hard to believe.
It’s even more difficult to imagine that this was all the work of two people given the fact that at least four IRS Cincinnati agents who may have been involved in the scandal have supposedly been identified by FOX19.
“Those four employees — whose names we have chosen to withhold until they have been officially confirmed — Have each worked in the IRS Exempt Organizations Department,” the report claims.
“This is the same department that has admitted publicly to sending letters to Tea Party and other conservative organizations,” it adds:
According to the Fox report, the four Cincinnati employees in question made large requests of information from:
- The Richmond, Virginia Tea Party in January of 2012.
- The Ohio Liberty Council in January of 2012.
- Dan Backer, a lawyer based in Washington D.C. who helped six small conservative groups apply for 501c4 status in February of 2012.
- The Liberty Township Tea Party in March of 2012.
The employees, according to the Fox affiliate’s sources, claim “they simply did what their bosses ordered.”
Now it’s entirely possible two “overly aggressive” employees orchestrated this entire scandal, and that low-level employees (like the four in the Fox report) were merely pawns in their game.
However, considering the size and scope of the scandal (the number of groups flagged for extra scrutiny is nearing 500) that seems highly unlikely.
Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter
Featured image screen grab.