Internal Revenue Service director of rulings and agreements Holly Paz explained that the IRS simply used “tea party” as shorthand for politically-involved groups in profiling non-profit applicants. She said that when tax agents in Cincinnati referred to tea party groups as requiring special scrutiny, they simply meant all groups with a political activity level. “Since the first case that came up to Washington happened to have that name, it appeared to me that that’s what they were calling it that as a shorthand, because the first case had been that,” said Paz. Paz said the “tea party” was used for political groups like “Coke” was used for soda.
Paz was interviewed by House Oversight Committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) on May 21. USA Today released all of her transcripts on Monday.
Paz said that she believed the IRS was balanced in its approach. “I was aware of, you know, other cases at that time that were working their way through the DC office that involved proposed denials of exemption to liberal organizations that supported the Democratic Party. So I had no indication that we were not being balanced in what we were doing.”
But Paz’s opinion wasn’t the only one. Elizabeth Hofacre, the emerging issues coordinator in Cincinnati, said that she removed all liberal groups from the tea party cases. “I was tasked to do tea parties,” she said, “and I wasn’t … equipped or set up to do anything else.”
Paz has been placed on administrative leave.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).