A Washington IRS attorney named Carter Hull closely oversaw the targeting of conservative nonprofit groups and suggested questions that IRS employees could ask of conservative and Tea Party groups applying for tax-exempt nonprofit status, according to interviews that two IRS employees gave with congressional investigators.
“I was essentially a front person, because I had no autonomy or no authority to act on [applications] without Carter Hull’s influence or input,” said Elizabeth Hofacre, an employee of the Cincinnati IRS office, according to a new report in the Wall Street Journal.
Hofacre’s office, which oversaw tax-exempt applications, reportedly requested help from the agency’s Exempt Organizations Technical unit in Washington, D.C. in 2010 to deal with an influx of new applications from Tea Party groups.
IRS attorney Hull sent Hofacre additional information request letters [pdf] that he’d already sent to two tea party groups and instructed her to use them as a “foundation to prepare and review” cases and prepare her own letters to new applicants.
As The Daily Caller has reported, at least five different IRS offices in Cincinnati, Ohio; Baltimore, Maryland; Chicago, Illinois; Laguna Niguel and El Monte, California; improperly demanded extensive information from conservative groups applying for tax-exempt nonprofit status between 2010 and 2012. The IRS demanded copies of training materials distributed by conservative groups, as well as personal information on college interns and even the contents of a religious group’s prayers.
One employee of the agency’s Cincinnati office told congressional investigators last week that Washington was “basically throwing us underneath the bus.”
Hull could not be reached for comment by The Wall Street Journal, which viewed transcripts of the IRS employees’ interviews Wednesday.