Found via the Friday Hugh Hewitt “Aftershow” hosted by James Lileks and Hugh’s producer Duane Patterson, a Cincinnati Fox affiliate explores who’s who in the Ohio IRS office that targeted conservatives and pro-Israeli groups on behalf of the president.
We already know Lois Lerner; according to Duane, the next name to be called to testify might be Cindy Thomas, who Fox-19 describes as “the highest ranking employee in Cincinnati in this Tax Exempt and Government Entities Department that no one in Congress is talking to… yet.”
Regarding that topic, Byan Preston writes at the PJ Tatler:
Via Hot Air, Cincinnati’s Fox 19 continues piecing the IRS determinations’ office org chart together. Despite Lois Lerner’s claim that the abuse just involved a couple of rogue agents, the local Fox affiliate has been able to determine that it involved at least six field-level agents, their managers, and a manger above them: Cindy Thomas.
Obviously we have some gaps yet to fill in. It’s atypical for individual field-level government workers to all have their own individual managers, though I suppose the IRS could be different. Fox 19 also found that field agent Tracy Dornette was promoted to become Thomas’ staff assistant. When she was an agent, Dornette asked a couple of abused groups bizarre questions about Israel.
Why was Dornette promoted? Did Thomas write or authorize the BOLO list that was used to target the abused groups? Neither of those questions have been answered yet. That’s why Cindy Thomas should be subpoenaed. All of the known agents involved in abusing taxpayers worked for her.
Thomas’ name appears in this May 14th post by Betsy Newmark, in which Betsy quips, “Well, isn’t this special?”
In addition to targeting conservative groups, the IRS office in charge of tax-exempt applications, also released nine pending applications from such groups to the liberal site ProPublica last year. And ProPublica is the one exposing them.
The IRS cover letter sent with the documents was from the Cincinnati office, and signed by Cindy Thomas, listed as the manager for Exempt Organizations Determinations, whom a biography for a Cincinnati Bar Association meeting in January says has worked for the IRS for 35 years. (Thomas often signed the cover letters of responses to ProPublica requests.) The cover letter listed an IRS employee named Sophia Brown as the person to contact for more information about the records. We tried to contact both Thomas and Brown today but were unable to reach them.
After receiving the unapproved applications, ProPublica tried to determine why they had been sent. In emails, IRS spokespeople said ProPublica shouldn’t have received them.
“It has come to our attention that you are in receipt of application materials of organizations that have not been recognized by the IRS as tax-exempt,” wrote one spokeswoman, Michelle Eldridge. She cited a law saying that publishing unauthorized returns or return information was a felony punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and imprisonment of up to five years, or both.
In response, ProPublica’s then-general manager and now president, Richard Tofel, said, “ProPublica believes that the information we are publishing is not barred by the statute cited by the IRS, and it is clear to us that there is a strong First Amendment interest in its publication.”
ProPublica also redacted parts of the application to omit financial information.
Ha! Michael Goldberg tweets: ” Katzenberg can deduct $ given to ProPublica, the partisan 501c3 the IRS was leaking to re non-deductible right-wing c4s”
Will the agents listed in the above Fox-19 video be sued personally as True The Vote has already done with Lerner after her attack on them? This Insta-post, with letters from Glenn Reynolds’ readers, has some thoughts on that topic:
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Rod Sanders emails:
To the idea that suing the individual IRS employees is intimidation:
Maybe it is. But it is, nonetheless, the correct reaction.
There seems to be the idea among many government employees that invoking the ‘I was only following orders’ argument somehow magically insulates them from their bad behavior.
If the people on the ground are held much more accountable for their actions, it may become harder for those calling the shots to use them as foot soldiers in their political games.
A moral individual would refuse to follow an order that is illegal or unethical. Most, if not all, of the front line employees involved here did not refuse. In fact, they likely agreed with the goal.
They shouldn’t get off just because someone like Lerner called the shots.
MORE: Reader Andy Freeman writes: “If the IRS employees were ‘just following orders’ then they’ll be willing to document said orders and testify in court as to who gave them.” You’d think.
Fortunately, there’s good news from the White House regarding the aftermath of its politicization of the IRS: The Obama administration declares itself “satisfied” with the response from IRS agents to the scandal that they instigated.
Or to put it another way: “Shorter Carney: Heckuva job, Lois,” Townhall’s Guy Benson jokes today.