GOPs Try to Trace IRS Scandal Back Toward the White House

The IRS chief counsel’s office was and currently is led by William Wilkins, one of two Obama administration political appointees at the IRS who, records show, attended at least nine White House meetings.

In their letter to Werfel, Issa, along with House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), House Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), and House Ways and Means Subcommittee Chairman Charles Boustany Jr. (R-La.), noted that the committee has determined that the IRS chief counsel’s office in Washington “has been closely involved in some of the applications. Its involvement and demands for information about political activity during the 2010 election cycle appears to have caused systematic delays in the processing of Tea Party applications.”

In furtherance of the probe, the lawmakers are seeking, among other items, all documents and communications between the IRS and the executive office of the president from Feb. 1, 2010, to the present.

Meanwhile, Democrats on the committee, led by Rep. Elijah Cummings, of Maryland, the ranking member, are maintaining that there exists growing evidence that 501(c)(3) applications from liberal and progressive groups were similarly delayed by the IRS and that Issa is “cherry-picking” evidence for political purposes, making it appear that Tea Party groups were singled out.

During Thursday’s hearings, Democrats accused IRS Inspector General J. Russell George of suppressing pertinent information held by the agency establishing that non-Tea Party groups were being targeted as well.

George revealed to the committee that he only recently learned that there were, indeed, documents establishing that groups described as progressive also experienced delays in their applications. He expressed displeasure over the turn of events.

“I am disturbed that these documents were not provided to our auditors at the outset, and we are currently reviewing this issue,” George said.

George earlier released an audit focusing on Tea Party and other conservative groups maintaining that the IRS had inappropriately targeted their applications based on political ideology. George said his office is determining how to handle the recent revelations about progressive groups.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected from an earlier version. Lerner has not resigned.