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Rep. Graves Grills New IRS Commissioner, IG On Targeting Scandal

By   /   June 4, 2013  /   Comments

Under Graves’ Questioning, Werfel Says Lois Lerner Is Still Being Paid, IG Testifies That IRS Employees Wouldn’t Say Who Ordered Targeting

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA-14), member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, issued the following statement after today’s hearing on the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups and those who appeared to disagree with the Obama Administration:

“The IRS that targeted Americans for their political beliefs is the same IRS that is in place today. The new acting commissioner confirmed that there has been little accountability and that Lois Lerner is still getting paid. It’s an insult to taxpayers. Mr. Werfel needs to clean house. Firing employees doesn’t stop investigators from extracting information about the scandal—it simply means we don’t have to pay the people responsible while we’re waiting for the truth.

“I was also disturbed by the inspector general’s testimony that IRS employees in Cincinnati refused to say who gave the orders to target conservative groups. It seems clear that there were orders from higher up, and the Administration’s initial story that it was just a few rogue employees continues to fall apart with each congressional hearing.”

Watch Rep. Graves question IRS Acting Commissioner Daniel Werfel and Inspector General J. Russell George:
Click here for Rep. Graves’ first round of questioning.
Click here for the second round.

Excerpts:

Little Accountability For Scandal So Far, Lerner Is Still Getting Paid (Part 1):
Rep. Tom Graves: …who has been held accountable?
Acting Commissioner Werfel: Well, I think the leaders that were replaced, certainly, I think, the fact that they are no longer holding positions of public trust, that’s part of the accountability. The critical point here…
Graves: Were they terminated?
Werfel: In most cases resigned.
Graves: Voluntarily or were they asked to resign?
Werfel: It’s a combination, but for example, [former IRS Acting Commissioner] Steve Miller was asked to resign.
Graves: So, a resignation is accountability? Is that what you’re telling the American people?
Werfel: Well here’s what I’m saying…
Graves: Is [IRS Director of Exempt Organizations] Lois Lerner being on administrative leave, is that accountability? Is Lois Lerner still being paid today?
Werfel: She is.
Graves: Is that your definition of accountability?
Werfel: Well, if you’d let me, if you’d indulge me just to answer the question again…
Graves: That’s an easy one. Yes or no?
Werfel: There’s two stages to accountability here. The first stage is based on the facts we have now, to determine who can no longer hold a position of trust with the IRS. And, the second stage, which I know is where you’re going, is to determine whether there was any underlying malfeasance or issues that would warrant dismissal. We’re going to follow the facts where they take us.

IRS Employees Refused To Say Who Gave Orders To Target (Part 1):
Graves: Have either of you asked the individuals in Cincinnati who ordered this? Who ordered them to use this extra scrutiny to punish, or penalize, or postpone or deny? Has that question been asked of any employee?
Inspector General J. Russell George: During our audit, congressman, we did pose that question and no one would acknowledge who, if anyone, provided that direction.

Graves: Mr. Werfel, are you satisfied with that response from the individuals in Cincinnati?
Werfel: No.
Graves: Would you get to the bottom of that?
Werfel: We have to get to the bottom of that.

New Acting Commissioner Has Not Asked Cincinnati Employees Who Ordered Targeting (Part 2):
Graves: Following up on my last questions, Mr. Werfel, have you asked any of the employees in Cincinnati if they were ordered to carry out these targeted approaches.
Werfel: Not at this time. I have not asked those questions yet.

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