Republican lawmaker says IRS targeting ordered by Washington
WASHINGTON, June 2
WASHINGTON, June 2 (Reuters) - A Republican representative investigating the Internal Revenue Service's scrutiny of conservative groups released a transcript Sunday of an IRS employee interview that he says links the tax agency's actions to orders from Washington.
Darrell Issa, head of a House of Representatives committee looking into the IRS scandal, told CNN there was an indication IRS employees in an Ohio field office were being "directly ordered" from Washington.
"This is a problem that was coordinated in all likelihood right out of Washington headquarters and we're getting to proving it," said Issa, chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
In the transcript, an unidentified IRS employee in Cincinnati, Ohio, was asked by committee investigators if the directions to target applications for tax-exempt status from groups with terms like "Tea Party" in their names had emanated from Washington.
The employee responded: "I believe so."
Lawmakers are asking why workers in the Cincinnati office of the IRS in early 2010 began targeting the conservative groups.
Issa told CNN's "State of the Union" the entire transcript of the interview will eventually be released, in addition to 18 more that still have to be transcribed.
The IRS has been under fire for three weeks since a mid-level IRS administrator publicly apologized at a conference for the extra scrutiny. That scrutiny was outlined in a Treasury Department inspector general report, which also concluded that low-level employees came up with the controversial criteria for targeting political groups.
An IRS internal review also concluded that workers in the Cincinnati office were responsible for the scrutiny.
The controversy has led to the ousting by President Barack Obama of the agency's top executive and an FBI investigation, and has become a major distraction for the White House.
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