IRS Officials Set to Testify Before House Panel

Inspector General says groups were unfairly targeted for review.

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Top Internal Revenue Service officials and the Treasury Inspector General whose report prompted outrage that the IRS was unfairly targeting conservative political groups applying for tax exempt status are set to testify before a Congressional panel Thursday.

Transcripts of interviews with some of the witnesses, released in advance by the chairman's office indicate top level IRS Washington employees, including an Obama administration political appointee, were at some point involved in the inappropriate scrutiny. There's still dispute regarding whether or not some liberal groups were unfairly scrutinized as well.

[READ: Congress Summons Watchdog to Explain IRS Audit]

But according to the transcripts released Wednesday by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight Committee, one of the witnesses for Thursday's hearing felt he was satisfied with at least some of the applications from groups for 501(c)(4) status, but was overruled by higher-ups in his Washington, D.C. office. The testimony reveals - opposed to previous claims - that some of the decision-making to scrutinize the groups was not entirely based on protocol established by workers in Cincinnati, Ohio, as previously indicated.

 

Carter Hull, an IRS employee who is a tax specialist and expert in working with the non profit groups, is set to testify Thursday. According to an interview with his boss, Michael Seto, Hull's recommendations on whether or not groups should be granted status were not fulfilled. Rather, Lois Lerner, the former head of the unit in charge of making the determinations, "instructed that the Tea Party applications should go through a multilayer review that included her senior adviser and the chief counsel's office."

[ALSO: Inspector General May Conduct a Broader Audit on IRS Practices]

The chief counsel, William Wilkins, is an Obama administration appointee.

Hull, and another IRS agent, Elizabeth Hofacre, are scheduled to testify before the House committee, alongside Treasury Inspector General J. Russell George and two of his colleagues from the inspector general's office Thursday.

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