IRS Manager Who Ordered Tea Party Targeting is 'Conservative Republican'

| by Michael Allen
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Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., recently released excerpts of an interview with an Internal Revenue Service manager, who explained why he targeted “Tea Party” and “patriot” groups.

The IRS manager was identified as John Shafer by congressional committee aides.

Congressional investigators asked Shafer, who identified himself as a "conservative Republican," if he believed the decision to screen "Tea Party" applications was done to attack “the president’s political enemies.”

“I do not believe that the screening of these cases had anything to do, other than consistency and identifying issues that needed to have further development,” Shafer said, according to the partial transcript released by Rep. Cummings, reports Reuters.

When asked if he believed the Obama White House was involved in the IRS audits of Tea Party groups, Shafer replied: “I have no reason to believe that.”

“He is a conservative Republican working for the IRS," Cummings said. "I think this interview and these statements go a long way toward showing that the White House was not involved in this. Based upon everything I’ve seen, the case is solved. And if it were me, I would wrap this case up and move on."

Cummings said he will release a full transcript of the House oversight committee’s interviews with IRS officials if Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., does not.

Issa is chairman of the House oversight committee investigating the Tea Party audits and the IRS.

“I strongly disagree with … Cummings’ assertion that we know everything we need to know about inappropriate targeting of Tea Party groups by the IRS,” Issa said in a statement via his office.

Republicans have tried to tie the IRS audits of Tea Party groups directly to President Barack Obama.

The unidentified Cincinnati IRS worker who reported Shafer and the Tea Party audits to committee aides has not yet been interviewed by the committee.

Source: Reuters