House panels to interview Cincinnati IRS employees
By: Lauren French
May 30, 2013 04:13 PM EDT
House investigators will interview four Internal Revenue Service employees over the next two weeks, POLITICO has learned.
The House Ways and Means and Oversight committees hope the four front-line employees from the agency’s Cincinnati office will help lawmakers better understand how the IRS targeting of conservative groups first began.
A committee aide declined to name the employees to be interviewed. But House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said earlier this month he wants the IRS to make available five employees for transcribed interviews including John Shafer, a screening group manager, Gary Muthert, a screener in the tax-exempt division, Liz Hofacre, a former case coordinator from April to October 2010, and Joseph Herr, a former advocacy group manager.
Two of the interviews will take place this week with the second pair of interviews happening next week
CNN first reported on the expanded House investigations Thursday.
Issa’s staff has already interviewed Holly Paz, the director of the rulings and agreements division. Paz told the committee, Issa said during a hearing last week, that she sat in on interviews between the employees and the inspector general, which Issa said potentially compromised the findings.
Republicans on both committees have repeatedly questioned if there was political motivation behind decision by Cincinnati employees to flag groups for extra review if their tax documents contained the words “tea party” or “patriot.” The IRS has pushed back saying the review was not politically motivated — a claim an inspector general report released earlier this month confirmed.
The Cincinnati office is where the agency processes applications for tax-exempt status.