Friday, May 24, 2013

Report: Oversight on IRS targeting came from Washington all along
...From the outset, Internal Revenue Service lawyers based in Washington, D.C., provided important guidance on the handling of tea-party groups’ applications for tax-exempt status, according to both IRS sources and the inspector general’s report released in mid May.

Officials in the Technical Unit of the IRS’s Rulings and Agreements office played an integral role in determining how the targeted applications were treated, provided general guidelines to Cincinnati case workers, briefed other agency employees on the status of the special cases, and reviewed all those intrusive requests demanding “more information” from tea-party groups. At times, the Technical Unit lawyers seemed to exercise tight control over these applications, creating both a backlog in application processing and frustration among Cincinnati agents waiting for direction....

Reality Check Exclusive: Cincinnati agent giving orders in IRS scandal?
The claim that the ongoing IRS scandal is limited to low level employees is falling apart.

The six Cincinnati workers we have identified, who sent scrutinizing letters to conservative groups with words including "patriot, liberty, tea party or 9-12" in their names are Mitchel Steele, Carly Young, Joseph Herr, Stephen Seok, Liz Hofacre and a woman identified only as Ms. Richards.

But was all of this done at the hands of a small group of Cincinnati employees working together? During Friday's congressional hearing, that appeared to be the theme. Now, that explanation just became less likely.

Thanks to two FOX19 sources connected to the IRS, we now understand the chain of command for these workers.

Mitchel Steele, Carly Young, Joseph Herr and Liz Hofacre are IRS agents. Stephen Seok is a supervisor IRS agent.

But according to the IRS employee directory that FOX19 has obtained exclusively, each of these agents has a different manager and then above them a different territory manager.

That is important because while it may sound reasonable to the average person that these workers began targeting groups on their own, the IRS structure is designed to prevent that. ...

...When an application for tax exempt status comes into the IRS, agents have 270 days to work through that application. If the application is not processed within those 270 days it automatically triggers flags in the system. When that happens, individual agents are required to input a status update on that individual case once a month, every month until the case is resolved.

Keep in mind, at least 300 groups were targeted out of Cincinnati alone. Those applications spent anywhere from 18 months to nearly 3 years in the system and some still don't have their non-profit status. 300 groups multiplied by at least 18 months for each group, means thousands of red flags would have been generated in the system.

So who in the chain of command would have received all these flags? The answer, according to the IRS directory, one woman in Cincinnati, Cindy Thomas, the Program Manager of the Tax Exempt Division. Because all six of our IRS workers have different individual and territory managers, Cindy Thomas is one manager they all have common....

On section 1203
...To have a statutory or Internal Revenue Manual deadline like 270 days to process something and to blow past without consequences is inconceivable to me. The day that thing went overage, the manager gets a report, and the employee gets asked why. The manager would keep getting reports until it was fixed, and if it wasn’t fixed soon, the SAC would be on the phone, because he or she is getting the same report, and his or her performance report (and bonuses) is on the line.

I obviously can’t speak for EO, but in CID, for an agent to have multiple overage cases like that would be impossible. This simply could not happen without dire consequences for everyone in the chain, and as a result, it never happened.

So, how do I explain a revenue agent in EO who has open cases that are 300 or even 700 days overdue? The only possible explanation is that management was okay with it, because it is absolutely impossible that they – and this includes everyone in the chain – didn’t know. Maybe they’ve got a good reason why they were okay with it, but the whole chain had to sign off on it. All the way to DC....