New information about Lois Lerner’s involvement in the IRS targeting scandal has been released.
Congressman Darrell Issa, the chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government, released a report today compiling Lerner’s emails and other documents to incriminate her since she refused to testify—twice.
The document reveals that Lerner was concerned that the Citizens United court decision would negatively affect Democratic candidates. She wrote:
The Citizens United decision allows corporations to spend freely on elections. Last year, there was a lot of press on 501(c)(4)s being used to funnel money on elections and the IRS was urged to do something about it.
She later writes, “Perhaps the FEC will save the day.”
Her plan to fix the problem included scrutiny of new tax-exempt applicants and 501(c)(4) organizations like those linked to the “hugely influential Koch brothers” and “new rules cracking down on political activity.”
The report concluded:
Even without her full testimony, and despite the fact that the IRS has still not turned over many of her e-mails, a political agenda to crack down on tax-exempt organizations comes into focus. Lerner believed the political participation of tax-exempt organizations harmed Democratic candidates, she believed something needed to be done, and she directed action from her unit at the IRS. Compounding the egregiousness of the inappropriate actions, Lerner’s own e-mails showed recognition that she would need to be “cautious” so it would not be a “per se political project.”
Additionally, Lerner did not make an effort to punish employees who were not cautious in their dealings with the “political project,” but instead worked to cover it up.
None of this information is absolutely damning, but it certainly reveals Lerner’s intentions and some questionable behavior. If she would testify, we might finally get the full story and understand the extent of the IRS abuse. Regardless, any unlawful targeting deserves prosecution for the protection of Americans’ free speech and freedom of association.
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