IRS chief counsel William Wilkins is one of only two political appointments at the IRS, he previously “defended pro-bono Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Chuch against charges from the IRS that it was abusing its tax-exempt status.”
Congressional investigators are probing the highest echelons of the Internal Revenue Service in Washington, D.C., in connection with the agency’s targeting of conservative groups, according to documents obtained by National Review Online. Those documents, provided by an IRS employee who asked to remain anonymous, indicate that those being asked to provide computer data to investigators include the agency’s chief counsel, William J. Wilkins, and both of his deputies. The chief counsel is one of just two political appointments at the IRS made by the president.
Investigators asked the IRS to gather all data from the computers of several employees throughout the agency, and their request, according to the source, was broadened late last week to include over a dozen employees in the chief counsel’s office. They include chief counsel William Wilkins as well as his deputy chief counsel for operations, Christopher Sterner and his deputy chief counsel for technical matters, Erik Corwin. Investigators are also mining the computer data of two lawyers in the chief counsel’s office responsible for procedures and administration, and nine others who oversee tax-exempt and government entitites. In all, the hard drives of 19 lawyers in the chief counsel’s office are being turned over to investigators.
The inspector general’s report says that Wilkins’s office was notified of the inappropriate targeting of conservative groups as early as August 2011, but does not indicate whether Wilkins was made aware of it. The IRS has said that Wilkins did not participate in the August 2011 meeting, and White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters that Wilkins did not inform the White House of the discrimination against conservative groups. It remains unclear when Wilkins was made aware of the discrimination. According to the source, current acting IRS commissioner Danny Werfel recently hired Jennifer O’Connor, a partner at the law firm WilmerHale in D.C. specializing in litigation/controversy and regulatory and government affairs to serve as an adviser to Wilkins.