Reality Check: 4 Cincinnati IRS workers named, Could they face federal charges?

Reality Check: 4 Cincinnati IRS Workers Named, Could They Face Federal Charges?
Published: May. 17, 2013 at 2:23 AM EDT
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(FOX19) - As we are continuing to look into the case surrounding the IRS and Cincinnati's connection there two big questions.

Did the White House know about this scandal sooner than what they have claimed?  Could criminal charges be filed against the local agents accused in the case?

Let's start with those local agents.  FOX19 exclusively sharing the names of at least 4 Cincinnati IRS agents who we have been able to independently verify were involved in at least 1 case and with two of these individuals, 2 cases of allegedly overburdening conservative groups seeking non-profit status.

All four worked in the IRS Exempt Organizations Department. Those 4 Cincinnati IRS agents are:  Mitchell Steele, Carly Young, Joseph Herr and Stephen Seok.

Thursday, President Obama claimed until the Inspector General's report last week, he knew nothing about this.

"I can assure you that I certainly did not know anything about the IG report before the IG report had been leaked through the press." said President Obama.

The President, however, did not directly answer the question from Bloomberg's Julianna Goldman who asked, "Can you assure the American people that nobody in the White House knew before the IG's report."

That is a big question.

The Inspector General's report states that Lois Lerner, the head of the IRS exemptions division knew as early as June of 2011 that conservative groups were being targeted with unfair and burdensome requirements.  Also , lawsuits had already been filed as far back as 2010 claiming that the IRS was conducting "viewpoint discrimination".

Wednesday, in response to the scandal, President Obama announced the acting director of the IRS, Steven Miller, had been forced to resign.  That move, was immediately deflated by news that acting director Miller was already set to leave in early June regardless of this scandal.

An official close to Steven Miller tells Fox News, the IRS chief was "set to resign the position of acting commissioner as of early June."  He was reportedly planning to leave the IRS entirely a "couple of months later, regardless of the current controversy."

Also Thursday, as second top IRS official announced plans to leave the agency.  According to the Associated Press, an internal IRS memo says Joseph Grant, Commissioner of the agency's Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division, will retire June 3, 2013.

What about those local employees?  Remember, Steven Miller claims that the targeting of conservative groups happened at the hands of low level Cincinnati employees who had gone "rogue" and were "off the reservation" and have already been "disciplined."

Have any of these four IRS agents, Mitchell Steele, Carly Young, Joseph Herr or Stephen Seok been disciplined?  We don't know.  But each one of these IRS employees could possibly face federal charges according to Speaker of the House John Boehner.

Boehner spoke to reporters Thursday stating that federal law on this issue is clear.

"Section 7214 of the title 26 of the U.S. code states very clearly, 'any officer or employee of the united states acting in connection with any revenue law of the united states who is guilty of extortion or willful oppression under the color of law shall be dismissed from office and if convicted be fined up to 10,000 dollars and spend five years in jail'.  said Speaker Boehner.

What this means for you?

A source tells Fox 19 that these agents say they were only doing what they were told.  If they face 5 years in prison, how long might it be before they say who was reportedly giving them orders?

And that is Reality Check.


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