Oversight Subpoenas Treasury for IRS Targeting Documents

August 2, 2013

WASHINGTON—House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., today issued a subpoena to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew over the Internal Revenue Service’s increasing attempts to obstruct the Committee’s investigation into IRS targeting of Americans for their political beliefs.

“During the past two weeks, President Obama and you have repeatedly labeled the IRS’s strategy of targeting Americans for their political beliefs as a ‘phony’ scandal.  While the Obama Administration has so publicly deflected responsibility for the targeting, it simultaneously has attempted to thwart congressional oversight into the matter… the IRS has engaged in a systematic effort to delay, frustrate, impede, and obstruct the Committee’s investigation,” Issa writes in a letter to Lew accompanying the subpoena.

The letter also details IRS failures to produce documents over the two months since the Committee’s first request:

  • IRS originally identified over 64 million pages of responsive documents and has revised that number down to 660,000 responsive documents, but has produced to the Committee only about 12,000 pages.
  • Approximately 2,500 pages are fully redacted and a significant portion of the remaining pages are duplicative.
  • IRS affirmatively prevented Exempt Organizations Determinations Manager Cindy Thomas from providing the Committee with documents in her possession prior to her transcribed interview with Committee staff.
  • IRS – without consulting with House Committees – unilaterally limited the date range for searching relevant documents and appears to have unilaterally narrowed the search terms from 81 agreed-upon terms to a subset of only 12 terms.

“While the Committee is willing to work with the IRS to guide the agency in responding to oversight requests, it is patently unacceptable for the IRS to unilaterally revise the scope or search terms used to identify responsive material,” Issa writes.

The Committee is compelling the production of the following documents:

  1. All communications sent or received by Lois Lerner, from January 1, 2009 to August 2, 2013.
  2. All communications sent or received by Holly Paz, from January 1, 2009 to August 2, 2013.
  3. All communications sent or received by William Wilkins, from February 1, 2010 to August 2, 2013.
  4. All communications sent or received by Jonathan Davis, from February 1, 2010 to August 2, 2013.
  5. All communications between or among employees of the Internal Revenue Service’s office of Chief Counsel, employees of the Department of the Treasury, and employees of the Executive Office of the President, referring or relating to tax-exempt organizations or applicants for tax-exempt status, from February 1, 2010 to August 2, 2013.
  6. All communications sent by IRS employees to an e-mail address with the domain name “who.eop.gov,” from February 1, 2010 to August 2, 2013.
  7. All communications received by IRS employees from an e-mail address with the domain name “who.eop.gov,” from February 1, 2010 to August 2, 2013.
  8. All documents referring or relating to the evaluation of tax-exempt applications or the examination of tax-exempt organizations, from January 1, 2009 to August 2, 2013.

Click here to watch Chairman Issa discuss IRS obstruction at today’s hearing with Acting IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel. The cover letter accompanying the subpoena is available here.

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