WASHINGTON - The IRS agents in Cincinnati who were involved in the targeting of conservative groups were "being directly ordered from Washington," Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said today, and he accused the White House of lying about the involvement of IRS headquarter officials in the scandal, calling White House Press Secretary Jay Carney a "paid liar."
"The administration is still - their paid liar, their spokesperson, picture behind - he's still making up things about what happens and calling this local rogue," Issa said on CNN's "State of the Union." "The reason that Lois Lerner tried to take the Fifth [Amendment when called to testify before Congress] is not because there's a rogue in Cincinnati, it's because this is a problem that was coordinated in all likelihood right out of Washington headquarters And we're getting to proving it.
"The administration is still trying to say there's a few rogue agents in Cincinnati, when in fact the indication is they were directly being ordered from Washington," he said.
Investigators from two House committees - Oversight and Government Reform and Ways and Means - are questioning IRS workers from the Cincinnati office, and Issa said these interviews provide evidence that the orders stemmed from Washington.
"My gut tells me that too many people knew that this wrongdoing was going on before the election, and at least by some sort of convenient benign neglect allowed it to go on through the election, allowed these groups, these conservative groups, these, if you will, not friends of the president to be disenfranchised through an election," he said. "Now, I'm not making any allegations as to motive, that they set out to do it. But certainly, people knew it was happening."
Congress is scheduled to hold a series of hearings this week on the IRS' targeting of conservative groups. On Monday, J. Russell George, the Treasury Department's Inspector General, and IRS Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel are expected to testify before a House Appropriations subcommittee on the progress the IRS is making in addressing the controversial practices that came to light last month. Representatives of conservative organizations that were targeted by the IRS are scheduled to appear Tuesday before the House Ways and Means committee.
On Thursday, the House Oversight Committee, which Issa chairs, has a hearing scheduled for questioning about excessive spending at IRS conferences. The hearing comes nearly a week after the release of a video showing IRS officials line dancing to the "Cupid Shuffle" at a 2010 agency conference in California.