WASHINGTON (FOX19) - More scrutiny is falling on four Cincinnati IRS workers. FOX19 confirms John Shafer, Gary Muthert, Liz Hofacre, and Joseph Herr have been called to Washington to answer questions from House investigators, according to a spokesman for the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, which is among those investigating IRS abuses.
The committee has already questioned Holly Paz, a manager in the agency's Exempt Organization's Guidance Office in Washington. She also spent time in the IRS office in Cincinnati. The investigation centers around whether political organizations, like local Tea Party groups seeking tax-exempt status, were illegally targeted and told they had to give the IRS information that should've been private. House investigators will want to know whether someone in the IRS issued a directive to use keywords like "Tea Party" to flag applications from groups applying for tax-exempt status.
The managers and rank-and-file IRS workers who will be answering investigators' questions will not be doing so under oath.
"However, providing false or misleading information to Congress is a serious matter, with potential criminal liability," said Ali Ahmad, spokesman for House Oversight chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA).
Ahmad would not say whether the two interviews scheduled for this week have already happened.
The interviews of the IRS employees come as two House committees plan more hearings into the scandal next week. On Tuesday, the House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing at 10 a.m. on Capitol Hill. Then on Thursday, Issa's committee meets.
Neither committee chairman has yet announced who will testify at next week's hearings. Issa has threatened to call back Lois Lerner, the IRS official who invoked her right not to incriminate herself under the Fifth Amendment, because she also gave a statement denying any wrongdoing.
A lawsuit filed on behalf of more than two dozen Tea Party groups, which was made public this week, alleges that the targeting of conservative groups didn't just happen in the Cincinnati office but in other locations, as well, and included documentation backing-up that claim.