Lerner email shows interference in inspector general's investigation

In a highly unusual move, former IRS manager Lois Lerner sent an email to the Treasury Department inspector general that he back off his conclusion that the IRS had "targeted" conservatives.

Washington Examiner:

In an email on Jan. 31, 2013, Lerner encouraged Troy Patterson of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to back off of his investigators' view that the tax agency was targeting political groups for excessive attention.

"We feel your folks are being too narrow in their view and have decided that because of the language on the earlier BOLO list regarding Tea Party, everything that followed was tainted. They seem to believe that if a case was initially sent to the advocacy group, but ultimately determined to be an approval, that our action in putting it into the advocacy group in the first place is incorrect, and illustrates 'targeting,'" she said.

"BOLO" was the tax agency's abbreviation for categories of nonprofit applicants to "be on the lookout" for as they were received.

Lerner continued in the email to Patterson, arguing that she was "willing to take the blame for not having provided sufficient direction initially, which may have resulted in front line staff doing things that appeared to be politically motivated, but I am not on board that anything that occurred here shows that the IRS was politically motivated in the actions taken."

The email was made public Thursday by nonprofit government watchdog Judicial Watch, which obtained it via a Freedom of Information Act request. The email was among multiple documents the tax agency only provided after being ordered to do so by a federal judge.

The IRS had previously claimed all of Lerner's emails were lost when her computer crashed and the hard drive was subsequently destroyed as a matter of routine practice by the agency's information technology staff.

Lerner was placed on administrative leave in May of 2013 and resigned in September of that year.

It is ethically questionable whether someone being investigated by the IG should send unsolicited advice to change a conclusion reached by investigators. But it shows the lengths that Lerner wanted to go to protect the agency as well as her own neck.

The IG wasn't buying her spin, and issued a scathing report blasting the tax exempt division for deliberately singling out conserative groups for special scrutiny.

Judicial Watch summed it up:

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said the latest email disclosures "show that the IRS scandal is not over. These documents point to document gaps caused by the refusal of the Obama IRS to search for Lois Lerner's emails. The incredible email from Lois Lerner admitting (and denying) culpability by her and the IRS in the scandal further undermines President Obama's lie that the IRS scandal was entirely the fault of 'bonehead decisions in local offices.'"

The saga will continue and Lerner's position will continue to unravel.

In a highly unusual move, former IRS manager Lois Lerner sent an email to the Treasury Department inspector general that he back off his conclusion that the IRS had "targeted" conservatives.

Washington Examiner:

In an email on Jan. 31, 2013, Lerner encouraged Troy Patterson of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to back off of his investigators' view that the tax agency was targeting political groups for excessive attention.

"We feel your folks are being too narrow in their view and have decided that because of the language on the earlier BOLO list regarding Tea Party, everything that followed was tainted. They seem to believe that if a case was initially sent to the advocacy group, but ultimately determined to be an approval, that our action in putting it into the advocacy group in the first place is incorrect, and illustrates 'targeting,'" she said.

"BOLO" was the tax agency's abbreviation for categories of nonprofit applicants to "be on the lookout" for as they were received.

Lerner continued in the email to Patterson, arguing that she was "willing to take the blame for not having provided sufficient direction initially, which may have resulted in front line staff doing things that appeared to be politically motivated, but I am not on board that anything that occurred here shows that the IRS was politically motivated in the actions taken."

The email was made public Thursday by nonprofit government watchdog Judicial Watch, which obtained it via a Freedom of Information Act request. The email was among multiple documents the tax agency only provided after being ordered to do so by a federal judge.

The IRS had previously claimed all of Lerner's emails were lost when her computer crashed and the hard drive was subsequently destroyed as a matter of routine practice by the agency's information technology staff.

Lerner was placed on administrative leave in May of 2013 and resigned in September of that year.

It is ethically questionable whether someone being investigated by the IG should send unsolicited advice to change a conclusion reached by investigators. But it shows the lengths that Lerner wanted to go to protect the agency as well as her own neck.

The IG wasn't buying her spin, and issued a scathing report blasting the tax exempt division for deliberately singling out conserative groups for special scrutiny.

Judicial Watch summed it up:

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said the latest email disclosures "show that the IRS scandal is not over. These documents point to document gaps caused by the refusal of the Obama IRS to search for Lois Lerner's emails. The incredible email from Lois Lerner admitting (and denying) culpability by her and the IRS in the scandal further undermines President Obama's lie that the IRS scandal was entirely the fault of 'bonehead decisions in local offices.'"

The saga will continue and Lerner's position will continue to unravel.