Another rat flees the sinking ship: #IRS lawyer at center of scandal to retire

**Posted by Phineas

I said a week ago that the front-line employees who supposedly went rogue weren’t going to go under the bus quietly, and I was right. Elizabeth Hofacre, an IRS manager in Cincinnati, claimed her work was micromanaged by one Carter Hull, a lawyer in the IRS’ “Exempt Organization’s Technical Office:

“I had no autonomy or no authority to act on [applications] without Carter Hull’s influence or input.”

Hull was not acting alone, although sources say he was the first to begin handling tea-party applications in Washington in March 2010. His colleagues in the Technical Unit were also involved in guiding the Cincinnati office. Hull reported to Michael Seto, the manager of the Exempt Organizations’ Technical Office, where some 40 lawyers offered advice to IRS agents across the country. Though not all of those lawyers worked on the tea-party cases, a handful certainly did. Expressing frustration about Washington’s oversight of her work, Hofacre told the committee, “I was taking all my direction from EO Technical.” National Review Online reported on the nature of that direction: the IRS’s Technical Unit in Washington provided guidance on handling the applications of tea party groups, approved many of the questionnaires that went out to them, and even wrote some of the intrusive questions that have become the subject of so much controversy.

The Technical Unit was also the source of the delays reported by so many tea-party groups. According to the inspector general’s report tea-party applications languished while Cincinnati agents waited for Washington lawyers to provide guidance. At one point, Hofacre’s team of specalists “did not work on the cases while waiting for guidance from the Technical Unit.”

Emphases added.

And now, with the Oversight Committee’s investigators getting close, Hull decides to retire. Sorry Carter, being on pension isn’t a protection against a subpoena.

Hofacre’s statement, along with that of another witness discussed in the article, blow the administration’s defense of “rogue line employees” out of the water; it’s clear that the harassment of  American citizens for daring to hold political principles disapproved of by the mandarin class originated in and was directed from D.C. The only question is how high one has to go to find the originator. Issa’s committee is going about this the right way, starting at the bottom and working up. I don’t doubt they’ll find more flunkies unwilling to take the fall for people higher up the org chart, so expect more to start talking in the weeks ahead. And that includes Mr. Hull and the lawyers in the Technical Office; there’s no way this started with them.

Food for Thought: If you read the original article, you may be struck by a coincidence of dates. Ms. Hofacre says she started managing the group processing Tea Party applications in April, 2010, and that she could not act without Mr. Hull’s approval, a highly unusual arrangement. What also happened around that time? The March, 2010, visit of the head of the “very anti-Tea Party” head of the Treasury employee’s union, which includes IRS employees, to the White House for a meeting with President ObamaHmmm…

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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