Senior Internal Revenue Service official Holly Paz, who helped oversee the agency's internal review of how it scrutinized conservative groups' applications for tax-exempt status, hasn't been formally accused of any wrongdoing. But she has been on administrative leave since early June, and has been subject to harassment after coming under fire from congressional Republicans, according to her lawyer, Roel Campos.
In 2010, Paz also instructed Cincinnati IRS employees to "hold" tea party cases while Washington reviewed test cases, according to a spokesman for the Oversight and Government Reform Committee .
The controversy over how the IRS has treated tea party and other conservative groups has largely faded from public view. But the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and other congressional panels are continuing to probe the matter, and the fallout from the scandal continues.
In painstaking detail, Campos' letter outlines the attacks Paz and her family have experienced since Republicans on the committee suggested on Aug. 20, that she had inconsistencies in her closed-door interview with panel investigators.
"Let me state emphatically, Ms. Paz testified truthfully to the best of her recollection," Campos wrote in the letter to the panel's chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and subcommittee chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). "She agreed to be interviewed by your Committee despite being given only four days to refresh her recollection of events spanning over three years. On May 21, she voluntarily submitted herself to nearly seven hours of interrogation with minimal breaks."
The committee sent Paz a letter Aug. 20 saying it had “uncovered additional information that appears to contradict your testimony in several areas relevant to the Committee’s investigation.” Campos argued that if lawmakers wanted to resolve the discrepancies between Paz's interview and its fact finding, it could have contacted him or discussed the matter with Paz privately.
"This type of one-side public attack adds to the physical danger faced by Ms. Paz and her
family," he wrote. "Because of prior inaccurate reports and allegations, Ms. Paz and her family have received threatening phone calls, messages, and visits at their home. Her oldest son jumps every time the home phone rings because he has heard the threatening messages. Her son was followed home from the school bus and harassed by a stranger claiming to be a reporter. Ms. Paz’s sons had to hide up in their room one night when a process server tried to force his way into Ms. Paz’s home and would not leave until escorted away by the police."
Committee spokesman Frederick Hill called the letter "disappointing," and said Campos should focus on the panel's questions about the accuracy of her testimony.
"Ms. Paz's account is critical to understanding the IRS's inappropriate and disparate treatment of applicants for tax exempt status," Hill said. "While any harassment of his client's family by reporters or others is clearly inappropriate, Mr. Campos
had not brought such claims separately to the Committee's attention before he apparently decided to publicize them."