Two Internal Revenue Service employees in the agency's Cincinnati office told congressional investigators that IRS officials in Washington D.C. helped direct the reviews of tea-party groups, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.
This contradicts statements previously made by top IRS officials, who put the blame on two low-level agents in Cincinnati.
Former acting commissioner Steven Miller called the employees 'rogue' and said they were responsible for 'overly aggressive' handling of the requests over the past two years.
The Wall Street Journal reports that transcripts viewed on Wednesday reveal that Elizabeth Hofacre said her office in Cincinnati 'sought help from IRS officials in the Washington unit that oversees tax-exempt organizations after she started getting the tea party cases in April 2010'.
Hofacre also said Carter Hull, an IRS lawyer in Washington, closely oversaw her work and suggested some of the questions asked to applicants.
According to the report, the interview transcripts suggest the 'extra-scrutiny' of tea party groups began with a search for those groups by name among all applications seeking tax-exempt status.
Gary Muthert, a Cincinnati worker who conducted the search, said he started gathering those applications in March 2010 at the request of a local IRS manager. The manager allegedly told Muthert that "Washington, D.C., wanted some cases".
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