The Corner

Ex-Cincy IRS Chief Fumed Over Lerner’s Shot at ‘Low-Level Workers’

“Low-Level Workers thrown under the Bus.” That was the subject line of the e-mail fired off around 2:00 p.m. on a Friday in May from the former head of the Internal Revenue Agency’s exempt organizations division in Cincinnati, Cindy Thomas, to Lois Lerner, who sat atop the division in Washington, D.C. Earlier that day, Lerner had blamed “low-level” workers in the agency’s Cincinnati office for improperly scrutinizing the applications of tea-party groups.

Lerner’s remarks did not sit well with Thomas, who penned the scathing e-mail just hours later. Thomas’s message, recently uncovered by the House Ways and Means Committee, notes that Cincinnati employees were told explicitly they would not be “thrown under the bus.”

“Cincinnati wasn’t ‘publicly thrown under the bus,’” Thomas bristled, but “hit by a convoy of mack trucks.” “As you can imagine, employees and managers in EO Determinations are furious,” she wrote. “Was it also communicated at that conference in Washington that the low-level workers in Cincinnati asked the Washington office for assistance and that the Washington office took no action to provide guidance to the low-level workers?”

A Ways and Means Committee spokesman said she didn’t know whether Lerner responded to the message. Holly Paz, the director of another Washington-based IRS office who has been on administrative leave since the scandal broke, was copied on Thomas’s e-mail.

Lerner’s original remarks, offered at a May 10 meeting of the American Bar Association, were an attempt to blunt the fallout from a forthcoming inspector general’s report that would conclude the agency had applied “inappropriate criteria” when screening applications from conservative groups. Lerner, who retired in September, said of the agency’s Cincinnati employees, “They didn’t have the appropriate level of sensitivity about how this might appear to others and it was just wrong.”

The e-mail sheds new light on the reaction among top IRS officials to the scandal that initially roiled the agency’s Cincinnati office but quickly spread to senior IRS officials in Washington, D.C., Lerner chief among them. Thomas’s sentiments were shared by some of her colleagues; when she passed it along to another manager in the Cincinnati office, Jon Waddell, he responded simply, “Well said.” In closed-door testimony before the House Oversight Committee, a Cincinnati agent who had been charged with screening tea-party applications called Lerner’s remarks “a nuclear strike on us.” 

A 35-year IRS veteran, Thomas now serves as a senior technical adviser to the director of exempt organizations.

Most Popular

World

Jared Kushner Was Right

Over the past several years, a new certainty was added to death and taxes: Jared Kushner would fail in his role as the administration’s Middle East point man. It caused considerable merriment among President Donald Trump’s critics (and even some of his well-wishers) when he put his son-in-law in charge of ... Read More
World

Jared Kushner Was Right

Over the past several years, a new certainty was added to death and taxes: Jared Kushner would fail in his role as the administration’s Middle East point man. It caused considerable merriment among President Donald Trump’s critics (and even some of his well-wishers) when he put his son-in-law in charge of ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Barr Is Right About the Prosecution Power

Attorney General Bill Barr gave a speech at Hillsdale College on Wednesday that attracted a lot of attention. Much of that attention was for his ill-considered remark (in a question-and-answer session following the speech) that "Other than slavery, which was a different kind of restraint, [the pandemic lockdowns ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Barr Is Right About the Prosecution Power

Attorney General Bill Barr gave a speech at Hillsdale College on Wednesday that attracted a lot of attention. Much of that attention was for his ill-considered remark (in a question-and-answer session following the speech) that "Other than slavery, which was a different kind of restraint, [the pandemic lockdowns ... Read More

Snobs or Mobs?

A   lot of us were feeling pretty good about the future of the media in late September of 2004. Dan Rather and the CBS news division had just tried to derail George W. Bush’s reelection campaign with some genuine fake news — based on fake documents — and, in spite of the manful attempts of ... Read More

Snobs or Mobs?

A   lot of us were feeling pretty good about the future of the media in late September of 2004. Dan Rather and the CBS news division had just tried to derail George W. Bush’s reelection campaign with some genuine fake news — based on fake documents — and, in spite of the manful attempts of ... Read More

The Mystery of Robert E. Lee

No one who ever met Robert Edward Lee -- whatever the circumstances of the meeting -- failed to be impressed by the man. From his earliest days as a cadet at West Point, through 25 years as an officer in the U.S. Army’s Corps of Engineers and six more as a senior cavalry officer, and then as the supreme ... Read More

The Mystery of Robert E. Lee

No one who ever met Robert Edward Lee -- whatever the circumstances of the meeting -- failed to be impressed by the man. From his earliest days as a cadet at West Point, through 25 years as an officer in the U.S. Army’s Corps of Engineers and six more as a senior cavalry officer, and then as the supreme ... Read More
U.S.

Zoomers and the Constitution

A 2019 study by the Pew Research Center compared generational views on key social and political issues, focusing on the similarities between Millennials and Generation Z. The topics probed include race relations, diversity, climate change, capitalism, socialism, and the role of government. This last item, ... Read More
U.S.

Zoomers and the Constitution

A 2019 study by the Pew Research Center compared generational views on key social and political issues, focusing on the similarities between Millennials and Generation Z. The topics probed include race relations, diversity, climate change, capitalism, socialism, and the role of government. This last item, ... Read More
World

How Trump Changed U.S. Foreign Policy

On September 16 the editorial board of the New York Times did the impossible. It said something nice about President Trump. “The normalization of relations between Israel and two Arab states, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, is, on the face of it, a good and beneficial development,” the editors wrote. ... Read More
World

How Trump Changed U.S. Foreign Policy

On September 16 the editorial board of the New York Times did the impossible. It said something nice about President Trump. “The normalization of relations between Israel and two Arab states, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, is, on the face of it, a good and beneficial development,” the editors wrote. ... Read More