Republican Congressman Darrell Issa said in an interview Sunday that the Obama administration directed the IRS to target Tea Party groups and that soon-to-be-released transcripts would prove his accusation.
“Their paid liar, their spokesperson—picture behind,” Issa said on CNN’s State of the Union while sitting in front a photo of White House spokesman Jay Carney. “He’s still making up things about what happens and calling this a local rogue.”
The IRS maintains that two “rogue” administrators at the agency’s Cincinnati office were responsible for singling out conservative Tea Party groups for scrutiny in their applications for tax-exempt non-profit status.
Last week, Lois Lerner, director of Tax-Exempt Organizations at the IRS, was placed on administrative leave. Lerner had invoked her Fifth Amendment right to remain silent in a House Oversight Committee hearing chaired by Issa.
In the weeks since the targeting was made public, it’s come to light that several of the Tea Party groups that were targeted for extra scrutiny have close ties to the Republican Party—a violation of the non-profit status rules that would allow them to remain tax-exempt.
There has been no evidence that the Obama administration knew of the targeting, although senior officials at the Treasury Department were alerted about the IRS audits last summer.
But Issa, chair of the House Oversight Committee, said that the Obama administration directed the entire affair.
“As late as last week the administration’s still trying to say there’s a few rogue agents in Cincinnati when in fact the indication is they were directly being ordered from Washington,” he said.