Domestic Taxes

Lawyer: IRS official targeted over role in controversy

Issa and Jordan had written to Paz, formerly a senior staffer in the IRS division overseeing tax-exempt groups, last week to question her testimony about when Washington officials found out about the extra scrutiny given to Tea Party groups, and the agency’s process for vetting potential 501(c)(4) organizations.

{mosads}In his response, Campos said that Paz has “testified truthfully to the best of her recollection,” and has cooperated with both Congress and a range of other government officials. He also chided the two GOP lawmakers for giving them little time before going public with the letter, and said that Paz would have come back for another interview to try to work through any inconsistencies.

Paz was interviewed less than two weeks after the IRS disclosed and apologized for the targeting of Tea Party groups in May, making her among the first agency staffers to sit down with congressional investigators. She was a deputy to Lois Lerner, the official who first publicized the targeting. 

But Campos now says that the Oversight panel is not letting Paz have a copy of her own interview transcript, and instead has only been allowed to look at one with committee staff present. The Washington Post first reported on Campos’s letter.

“Surely, Holly Paz and all the IRS public servants deserve a fair process that allows their side to be heard,” Campos wrote. “Most critically, you should conduct your committee’s business in a manner that does not place Holly Paz, her family and other IRS witnesses and their family in harm’s way.”

Frederick Hill, a spokesman for Issa, called Paz’s testimony crucial to the congressional investigation, and said he was disappointed by Campos’s “distorted allegations about his client’s interaction with the committee.”

“While any harassment of his client’s family by reporters or others is clearly inappropriate, Mr. Campos had not brought such claims separately to the Committee’s attention before he apparently decided to publicize them,” Hill said.

More than three months after the IRS first disclosed the targeting, the House investigation has become a partisan fight, with Democrats and Republicans accusing the other of cherry-picking quotes and trumpeting incomplete narratives about the treatment of groups seeking tax-exempt status.

Republicans maintain the investigation has so far shown that the agency treated Tea Party and conservative groups far more harshly than liberal organizations, and have kept hammering the IRS as part of their political message this August.

But House Democrats have fought back by saying that the IRS hassled groups across the political spectrum, and have called into question the original inspector general report outlining the agency’s singling out of Tea Party groups.


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