CNS News –
(CNSNews.com) – The Internal Revenue Service has produced 0.019 percent of the documents deemed responsive to requests from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which is investigating the tax collecting agency for the targeting of conservative groups, according to a committee letter. Still the IRS insists it is “aggressively responding” to congressional inquiries.
Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), chairman of the subcommittee on Economic Growth, Job Creation and Regulatory Affairs, sent a letter to Acting IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel Tuesday accusing the agency of obstructing the investigation.
“Over two months since the Committee’s first request for documents, the IRS has produced only a small fraction of responsive documents,” Issa and Jordan said in the letter. “Indeed, although the IRS initially identified over 64 million pages of documents as responsive to congressional oversight requests, the agency has produced to the Committee only a total of about 12,000 pages, or a mere 0.019 percent of what was initially identified as responsive documents.”
The letter went on to say that the documents that were produced were largely incomplete with “entire pages of redactions,” “thousands of pages of duplicate material as well as hundreds of pages of printed spreadsheets without columns or row headers.”
“Obstructing a congressional investigation is a crime,” Issa and Jordan warned Werfel in the letter. “Additionally, denying or interfering with employees’ rights to furnish information to Congress is against the law. Taxpayer dollars may not be used to pay the salaries of federal officials who deny or interfere with employee rights to furnish information to Congress. The systematic manner in which the IRS has attempted to delay, frustrate, impede and obstruct the committee’s investigation raises serious concerns about your commitment to full and unfettered congressional oversight.”
An IRS statement issued in response to the Oversight Committee letter said the agency is “aggressively responding” to Congress with 70 IRS attorneys “doing everything we can to fully cooperate with the committees, and we strongly disagree with any suggestion to the contrary.”
“While the volume of raw data collected – which was 65 million pages in early June – is quite high, it is a misleading figure to use in order to determine the volume of material the IRS will ultimately produce,” the IRS statement said. “The vast majority of it is completely unrelated to the Congressional investigations. Once the data is limited to the time period in question, and the issue in question, we expect the final tally of produced documents will be far lower – in the neighborhood of 460,000 documents or fewer.”