A special internal committee was set up by senior IRS officials after information requests from Congress and “other investigative bodies” asking the IRS to investigate conservative and Tea Party non-profit applicants were sent to the federal tax agency’s two Obama White House political appointees.
Mary Howard, the IRS’s director of privacy, governmental liaison and disclosure division, told the House Committee on Oversight and Government reform Wednesday that she never saw any of the information requests because the requests were forwarded to the special committee. Howard is also the tax agency’s chief Freedom of Information Act officer.
“I think Lois Lerner was just the tip of the iceberg,” Howard said.
“You’re telling me your group doesn’t get that?” Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, asked. “Do you realize that there are only two political appointees in the IRS, the commissioner and the chief counsel?”
Chaffetz pressed Howard on White House involvement in screening documents related to the scandal. He held up an April 2009 memo from President Obama that required agencies to send any requested documents to the White House that held “White House equities.”
Since those information requests never went to her department, Howard couldn’t tell the Oversight Committee who had to sign off on the release of any documents related to Lerner or the nonprofit targeting.
Chaffetz also said the committee had to subpoena the IRS for Howard’s presence at the hearing.
“We will drag the IRS up here every single week if we have to,” Chaffetz said. “You work for the American people.”
“If the IRS went after an individual … There’s no way you’d put up with this,” he added.