IRS relents: Will give House Committee Lerner emails
After a year of haggling, foot dragging, and stonewalling, the IRS has finally agreed to give the House Ways and Means Committee all of Louis Lerner's emails generated during her tenure.
Just a few short weeks ago, IRS Commissioner John Koskninen told the committee that it would take "years" to gather of all Lerner's emails. That analysis now appears to have been flawed.
New IRS commissioner John Koskninen previously said that it could take years to provide all of Lerner’s emails to congressional investigators. But Ways and Means’ referral of criminal charges against Lerner to the Department of Justice, coupled with the House of Representatives’ holding Lerner in contempt of Congress Wednesday, has changed the tenor of the investigation into the IRS conservative targeting scandal.
“While it is good that we are finally getting these emails, it should never have taken this long. The agency is finally doing what is right and hopefully this is the last of the delays,” House Ways and Means chairman Rep. Dave Camp said in a statement.
“It is almost a year to the day since Lois Lerner ‘apologized’ for the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups, and we need to get to the bottom of this,” Camp said. “These documents are critical to an investigation that is holding the IRS accountable and ensuring the constitutional rights of these groups are never trampled on again. The Committee will thoroughly review the Lerner documents and follow them wherever they may lead.”
As Washington-based director of exempt organizations for the IRS, Lerner oversaw the improper targeting of conservative groups between 2010 and 2012. Lerner has thus far refused to answer congressional investigators’ questions about her conduct.
The Daily Caller has reported on emails showing Lerner coordinating with White House officials, the Department of Justice, the Federal Election Commission, and the Treasury Department.
Just as important to investigators as what is in the emails is who the emails were circulated to. Once that is known, additional subpoenas will be forthcoming and links to other IRS officials and others in government can be established.
As the DC points out, there have already been several interesting connections made between Lerner and other government officials - including some at her old haunts at the FEC. Lerner's disclosure to the FEC of the status of a non-profit case may have been a felony and further communications might reveal the extent of her cooperation with the agency.
Camp is right; it shouldn't have taken nearly a year to get these emails. But now that they will have them, the Committee can do some serious detective work in trying to get to the bottom of Lerner's role in the scandal.