In pursuit of its investigation of the Internal Revenue Service’s practice of targeting conservative organizations, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Friday subpoenaed Treasury Secretary Jack Lew demanding that the Treasury Department turn over to the committee certain categories of records, including communications between the IRS and the White House.The cover letter from Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R.-Calif.) to Secretary Lew says the subpoena requires, among other things, that the Treasury provide the committee with “[a]ll communications between or among employees of the Internal Revenue Service’s office of Chief Counsel, employees of the Department of the Treasury, and employees of the Executive Office of the President, referring or relating to tax-exempt organizations or applicants for tax-exempt status, from February 1, 2010 to August 2, 2013.”The IRS chief counsel in question here is William Wilkins, who was appointed by President Barack Obama. By law, there are only two presidential appointees at the IRS, the commissioner and the chief counsel. At the time the IRS was targeting Tea Party and conservative groups, the IRS commissioner was Douglas Shulman, a Bush appointee. Thus, Wilkins—to whose office the tea party applications were referred—was the only Obama political appointee at the IRS.
House Oversight Chairman Issa, Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R.-Mich.), Oversight Regulatory Subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan (R.-Ohio), and Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Charles Boustany (R.-La.) sent a letter to acting IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel on July 17 revealing that IRS employees had been ordered by Lois Lerner, who headed the IRS’s exempt organizations unit, to send tea party applications for tax-exempt status to Wilkins’s office.