WH Counsel Can’t Name One Person She Worked With During 6-Month Stint at IRS

By Melanie Arter | June 24, 2014 | 3:48pm EDT

(AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – White House attorney Jennifer O’Connor testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Tuesday that she couldn’t recall who she worked with during her six months at the IRS.

Before working for the Office of White House Counsel, O’Connor worked for the IRS from May 2013 to November 2013 to help the agency deal with the IRS scandal.

Besides naming acting IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel, IRS Chief Counsel William Wilkins, and IRS Deputy Chief Counsel of Operations Chris Sterner – whom she reported to – O’Connor could not name one person she interacted with or specifically reported to her during her tenure at the IRS.

“Anybody in the IT arena?” Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) asked O’Connor.

“I didn’t actually interact directly with people in the IT arena. There was somebody whose name was – I can’t even remember his last name – I think his first name may have been Ben,” O’Connor replied.

“So a guy named Ben. A dude named Ben. Who else?” Chaffetz asked.

“I don’t recall,” O’Connor said.

“You were there 6 months. You had people around you that would jump at your very presence. What, who are these people?” Chaffetz asked.

“Nobody ever jumped at my very presence. I can assure you of that,” said O’Connor.

When Chaffetz pressed O’Connor to name one person that she asked questions of during her six months at the IRS, she could not recall.

“Mrs. O’Connor. You’re a very bright person. You’re a very personable person. Why are you being so elusive? Why not just tell us who you asked questions of? Who interacted with you? You haven’t named a single person,” Chaffetz said.

“Do you ever ask anybody in the IRS to provide you information?” he asked O’Connor.

“In the tax exempt organization, the person who replaced Ms. Lerner, whose name is Ken Corbin was somebody I called to ask for information about how the unit was working,” O’Connor finally said.

“There’s one. How many people do you think you asked information of?” Chaffetz asked.

“Probably a lot of people,” O’Connor said, but couldn’t name anyone else.

“Why are you being so elusive?” Chaffetz asked.

“I’m not being elusive,” O’Connor said.

During Chaffetz’s exchange, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) interrupted: “Mr. Chairman, I think you may be unfair to the witness. The fact is that last night, the commissioner could not remember 60 days ago who told him about the importance of losing those documents.

“Last night, he could not narrow less than 60 days ago within 30 days when he was told. I think that in fact the ability to remember at the IRS is simply limited,” Issa concluded.

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