A Washington-based IRS supervisor acknowledged she was personally involved in reviewing Tea Party applications for tax-exempt status as far back as 2010, Fox News confirms — a detail that further challenges the agency’s initial claim that the practice of singling out those groups was limited to a handful of employees in Ohio.
Congressional sources confirmed to Fox News that Holly Paz, who until recently was a top deputy in the division that handles applications for tax-exempt status, told congressional investigators she reviewed 20 to 30 applications. Some requests languished for more than a year without action.
The account undercuts the narrative that senior officials only learned of the practice after it had already started in the Cincinnati office.
Details of Paz’s role were first reported by The Associated Press. Still, Paz provided no evidence that senior IRS officials ordered agents to target conservative groups or that anyone in the Obama administration outside the IRS was involved.
Instead, Paz described an agency in which IRS supervisors in Washington worked closely with agents in the field but didn’t fully understand what those agents were doing. Paz said agents in Cincinnati openly talked about handling “tea party” cases, but she thought the term was merely shorthand for all applications from groups that were politically active — conservative and liberal.
Paz said dozens of tea party applications sat untouched for more than a year while field agents waited for guidance from Washington on how to handle them. At the time, she said, Washington officials thought the agents in Cincinnati were processing the cases.
Paz was among the first IRS employees to be interviewed as part of a joint investigation by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee.
Congressional investigators have interviewed at least six IRS employees as part of their inquiry. The Associated Press has reviewed transcripts from three interviews — with Paz and with two agents, Gary Muthert and Elizabeth Hofacre, from the Cincinnati office.
The IRS declined comment for this story.

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