As Lois Lerner pleads the 5th in today’s congressional hearing, it is becoming clearer that low-level employees could not act on their own.
From FOX19 in Cincinnati:
But according to the IRS employee directory that FOX19 has obtained exclusively, each of these agents has a different manager and then above them a different territory manager.
That is important because while it may sound reasonable to the average person that these workers began targeting groups on their own, the IRS structure is designed to prevent that.
Here is how that works.
When an application for tax exempt status comes into the IRS, agents have 270 days to work through that application. If the application is not processed within those 270 days it automatically triggers flags in the system. When that happens, individual agents are required to input a status update on that individual case once a month, every month until the case is resolved.
Keep in mind, at least 300 groups were targeted out of Cincinnati alone. Those applications spent anywhere from 18 months to nearly 3 years in the system and some still don’t have their non-profit status. 300 groups multiplied by at least 18 months for each group, means thousands of red flags would have been generated in the system.
So who in the chain of command would have received all these flags? The answer, according to the IRS directory, one woman in Cincinnati, Cindy Thomas, the Program Manager of the Tax Exempt Division. Because all six of our IRS workers have different individual and territory managers, Cindy Thomas is one manager they all have common.
It turns out Cindy Thomas’ name is one we have heard before. The independent journalism group ProPublica says in November of 2012 they had requested information on conservatives groups that had received non-profit status. Along with that information, the IRS released private information on nine conservative groups that had not yet been approved and personal information had not been redacted. The person who signed off on that release, Cindy Thomas.
For those of you who refuse to accept anything from Fox, listen to this NBC news report of Bonnie Esrig, former IRS Cincinnati manger, asserting low-level employees could not target groups without the knowledge of management.