House Republicans ask DoJ to investigate IRS targeting scandal

Will the Trump Justice Department do what the Obama Justice Department refused to do?

House Republicans wrote a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions requesting that DoJ open an investigation into the IRS program that targeted conservative groups.  The Obama administration refused to hold anyone accountable for the illegal practice.

Specifically, Republicans want the Department of Justice to look into the actions taken by Lois Lerner, who led the tax-exempt division of the IRS during the scandal.

Washington Free Beacon:

Lois Lerner, who headed the tax-exempt status division of the IRS at the time, confessed in 2013 at an American Bar Association meeting that conservative groups were targeted on political beliefs, but blamed low-level employees for the targeting. That same month, Lerner pleaded the fifth at the Oversight and Government Reform House committee.

In 2014, the House Ways and Means committee voted to send a letter to the Justice Department to refer Lerner for criminal prosecution. Former President Obama said during the Justice Department's investigation that there was not a smidgeon of corruption at the IRS. Later in October 2015, it was announced that the agency would not bring charges against Lerner, and no one was held responsible.

Now, lawmakers are attempting to write to the agency again with a new administration and attorney general to review the evidence.

"The Committee's nearly three-year investigation uncovered evidence of willful misconduct on the part of Ms. Lerner," wrote Roskam and Brady. "Despite this fact, and for what many believe were purely partisan reasons, the prior administration refused to review Ms. Lerner's misconduct."

"The Committee found that Ms. Lerner used her position to improperly influence IRS action against conservative organizations, denying these groups due process and equal protection rights under the law," the lawmakers said. "The Committee also found she impeded official investigations by providing misleading statements in response to questions from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration."

"Finally, Lerner risked exposing, and may actually have disclosed, confidential taxpayer information, in apparent violation of Internal Revenue Code section 6103 by using her personal email to conduct official business," they said.

Lerner more than demonstrated her partisanship when she was a member of the Federal Election Commission, targeting Republican candidates for outrageous treatment.  She has so far gotten away with pinning the targeting scandal on a couple of low-level IRS employees in the Cincinnati office.  It's clear from the emails that have been recovered – many were deleted when IRS hard drives were destroyed – that the targeting of conservatives was planned at a much higher level and that IRS managers knew they were in violation of the law.

The IRS continues to this day to slow-walk approval of conservative applications for tax-exempt status.  As long as career IRS bureaucrats can act with impunity to affect the ability of conservative groups to promote their causes, the political targeting will continue.

Prosecuting Lois Lerner would send a message that such behavior will not be tolerated any longer.

Will the Trump Justice Department do what the Obama Justice Department refused to do?

House Republicans wrote a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions requesting that DoJ open an investigation into the IRS program that targeted conservative groups.  The Obama administration refused to hold anyone accountable for the illegal practice.

Specifically, Republicans want the Department of Justice to look into the actions taken by Lois Lerner, who led the tax-exempt division of the IRS during the scandal.

Washington Free Beacon:

Lois Lerner, who headed the tax-exempt status division of the IRS at the time, confessed in 2013 at an American Bar Association meeting that conservative groups were targeted on political beliefs, but blamed low-level employees for the targeting. That same month, Lerner pleaded the fifth at the Oversight and Government Reform House committee.

In 2014, the House Ways and Means committee voted to send a letter to the Justice Department to refer Lerner for criminal prosecution. Former President Obama said during the Justice Department's investigation that there was not a smidgeon of corruption at the IRS. Later in October 2015, it was announced that the agency would not bring charges against Lerner, and no one was held responsible.

Now, lawmakers are attempting to write to the agency again with a new administration and attorney general to review the evidence.

"The Committee's nearly three-year investigation uncovered evidence of willful misconduct on the part of Ms. Lerner," wrote Roskam and Brady. "Despite this fact, and for what many believe were purely partisan reasons, the prior administration refused to review Ms. Lerner's misconduct."

"The Committee found that Ms. Lerner used her position to improperly influence IRS action against conservative organizations, denying these groups due process and equal protection rights under the law," the lawmakers said. "The Committee also found she impeded official investigations by providing misleading statements in response to questions from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration."

"Finally, Lerner risked exposing, and may actually have disclosed, confidential taxpayer information, in apparent violation of Internal Revenue Code section 6103 by using her personal email to conduct official business," they said.

Lerner more than demonstrated her partisanship when she was a member of the Federal Election Commission, targeting Republican candidates for outrageous treatment.  She has so far gotten away with pinning the targeting scandal on a couple of low-level IRS employees in the Cincinnati office.  It's clear from the emails that have been recovered – many were deleted when IRS hard drives were destroyed – that the targeting of conservatives was planned at a much higher level and that IRS managers knew they were in violation of the law.

The IRS continues to this day to slow-walk approval of conservative applications for tax-exempt status.  As long as career IRS bureaucrats can act with impunity to affect the ability of conservative groups to promote their causes, the political targeting will continue.

Prosecuting Lois Lerner would send a message that such behavior will not be tolerated any longer.

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