Two top tax-writing Republicans in the House are calling on the Department of Justice to reopen its investigation into whether former IRS official Lois Lerner unlawfully targeted conservative organizations applying for tax-exempt status.
Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady and tax policy subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions Wednesday, noting the Obama administration refused to review the information the committee gathered in its extensive investigation into the matter.
According to the congressmen, there is clear evidence Lerner willfully partook in criminal activity during her tenure as the Exempt Organizations division director, yet former President Barak Obama insisted there was “not a smidgeon of corruption” at the agency.
“On April 9, 2014, the House Committee on Ways and Means voted to send a letter to the Department of Justice referring former IRS Exempt Organizations Division Director Lois G. Lerner for criminal prosecution,” Brady and Roskam wrote. “As indicated in the attached letter, the Committee’s nearly three-year investigation uncovered evidence of willful misconduct on the part of Ms. Lerner. Despite this fact, and for what many believe were purely partisan reasons, the prior administration refused to review Ms. Lerner’s misconduct.”
The lawmakers cited evidence showing Lerner provided misleading information to Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s questions and the use of her personal email, which put taxpayers’ confidential information at risk of exposure, as reasons for reopening the investigation.
The DOJ announced in October 2015 it would not pursue criminal charges against Lerner at the close of its two-year probe. The investigation faced challenges due to Lerner’s crashed hard drive, the absence of email archives, and the destruction of over 400 electronic backup tapes, and it was unable to prove the IRS official “intentionally discriminated against an applicant based upon viewpoint” and cited line-employees’ “ignorance, inertia” and “negligence” for delays in tea party applications for r 501(c )(3) status.
“It is clear that when the DOJ announced in October 2015 that it would not bring charges against Lois Lerner, the agency was following President Obama’s signal on how he wanted the investigation to be handled,” they continued. “Taxpayers deserve to know that the DOJ’s previous evaluation was not tainted by politics.”
Lerner, a central figure in the IRS tea party targeting scandal, resigned in 2013 after a number of Republicans called for her removal from the agency.
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