Emails: IRS official said Lerner threw Cincinnati office under the bus

Patrick Howley Political Reporter
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An IRS official blasted Lois Lerner for her attempt to blame the agency’s targeting scandal on low-level employees in Cincinnati, according to newly released emails.

“Cincinnati wasn’t publicly ‘thrown under the bus’ (but) instead was hit by a convoy of Mack trucks,” wrote Cindy Thomas, former director of the IRS exempt organizations office in Cincinnati, in a May 10, 2013 email to Lerner obtained by the House Ways and Means Committee.

Thomas wrote the email on the very day that the IRS targeting scandal broke when Lerner, a senior agency official based in Washington, D.C., admitted that her exempt organizations division engaged in improper targeting of conservative groups.

Lerner initially claimed that the agency’s Cincinatti office was solely responsible for the practice. The New York Times went to bat for the administration, characterizing the Cincinatti office as a “backwater” filled with “low-level employees.”

But Thomas wasn’t having it.

“As you can imagine, employees and managers (in the Cincinnati tax-exempt division) are furious,” Thomas wrote to Lerner.

“Was it also communicated at that conference in Washington that the low-level workers in Cincinnati asked the Washington office for assistance and the Washington office took no action to provide guidance to the low-level workers?” Thomas wrote.

“. . . How am I supposed to keep the low-level workers motivated when the public believes they are nothing more than low-level and now will have no respect for how they are working cases? The attitude/morale of employees is at the lowest it has ever been,” Thomas wrote.

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Patrick Howley