Unearthed emails show embattled IRS official knew her agency was secretly targeting conservative groups

By  David Martosko In Washington

PUBLISHED: 18:00 EST, 12  September 2013 |  UPDATED: 18:18 EST, 12 September 2013

Emails released this week by congressional  investigators show that an embattled former IRS manager was directly involved in  targeting conservative nonprofit groups for special scrutiny beginning at the  height of the 2010 midterm election season.

Lois Lerner, who is still on the IRS payroll  despite losing her post as Director of Exempt Organizations, has refused to  testify before Congress about her involvement. But the emails, which date from  2011 and were provided to MailOnline by the House Ways and Means Committee,  indicate that she knew early on what her agency was doing.

Lerner, the messages show,  specifically singled out applications for tax-exempt status from organizations  that described themselves as right-wing ‘tea party’ groups, and ordered that the  politically sensitive requests should be held in limbo until the IRS could  develop a coherent policy to address them.

CRUELLA DE (TAX) BILL? Lois Lerner 'took the fifth' before Congress, refusing to testify. But her emails show her level of involvement in the tea party scandal that deeply tarnished the IRS 

CRUELLA DE (TAX) BILL? Lois Lerner ‘took the fifth’  before Congress, refusing to testify. But her emails show her level of  involvement in the tea party scandal that deeply tarnished the IRS



Grass roots: Tea party groups have continued to wield political power, most recently by advocating against the full implementation of President Obama's health care overhaul law 

Grass roots: Tea party groups have continued to wield  political power, most recently by advocating against the full implementation of  President Obama’s health care overhaul law

Capitol Hill Democrats have countered that  groups on both the right and left were targeted, but evidence made public to  date suggests that almost all of the affected organizations opposed President  Obama and his policies.

The ‘Tea Party Matter [is] very dangerous,  Lerner instructed her IRS colleagues in February 2011. ‘This could be the  vehicle to go to court,’ she added, on the question of whether a Supreme Court  ruling about the status of political donations from corporations might also  apply to nonprofit groups. ‘Counsel and Judy Kindell [Lerner’s top advisor]  need to be in on this one … Cincy should probably NOT have these  cases.’


IRS officials said in the congressional  investigation’s early days that a few ‘rogue employees’ in the IRS’s Cincinnati,  Ohio office – and not managers like Lerner or her counterparts in Washington,  D.C. – made the decisions about which conservative groups’ applications to  target.

Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, a Michigan  Republican, said in a statement that ‘there is increasing and overwhelming  evidence that Lois Lerner and high-level IRS employees in Washington were  abusing their power to prevent conservative groups from organizing and carrying  out their missions.’

‘There are still mountains of documents to go  through,’ Camp added, ‘but it is clear the IRS is out of control and there will  be consequences.’

Serious messages: Tea party activists have leveled stern warnings to the IRS after the agency targeted their groups for special treatment based on their political philosophies 

Serious messages: Tea party activists have leveled stern  warnings to the IRS after the agency targeted their groups for special treatment  based on their political philosophies


About 70 tea partiers gathered in Washington, DC as their counterparts in other cities descended on federal buildings in protest 

Conservatives organizations say they hold President  Obama responsible for the ‘abuses’ his tax collectors have inflicted on his  political opposites


In an email from three months later, Lerner  seemed to acknowledge that the IRS had made a mess of its habit of selectively  hamstringing groups whose political ideology didn’t mesh with the  president’s.

‘It is what it is,’ she wrote. ‘Although the  original story isn’t as pretty as we’d like, once we learned this [sic] were off  track, we have done what we can to change the process, better educate our staff  and move the cases.’

‘So, we will get dinged, but we took steps  before the ‘dinging’ to make things better and we have written  procedures.’

A year later, IRS higher-ups testified in  congressional hearings that the agency hadn’t made special efforts to treat  conservative groups differently from others.

A third email shows a stunning intersection  of government bureaucracy and partisan politicking in Lerner’s  office.

Sharon Light, a senior member of Lerner’s  “Technical Adviser’ team, forwarded her a National Public Radio article on July  10, 2012 about the plight of Senate Democrats who found it increasingly  difficult to repeat their electoral successes in the wake of court decisions  that allowed corporate dollars to flood into statewide elections.

Democrats had complained to the Federal  Election Commission that some tax-exempt groups on the political right should be  regulated like political committees instead of charities. The issue was whether  the identity of their donors should be subject to public disclosure.

‘Perhaps the FEC will save the day,’ Lerner  added to the email chain.


The Senate Conservatives Fund launched AbolishIRSnow.com to host Cruz's video. That PAC spent more than $3.5 million on political races in 2012 

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and the Senate  Conservatives Fund launched a website this year to gather support for abolishing  the IRS and shifting the United States to a less complicated tax  code


Light was one of six IRS managers who sought  career lifeboats at the height of the controversy this summer. She now works for  the American Cancer Society.

The latest cache of Lerner’s emails to be  made public were first discussed in a Wall Street  Journaleditorial.

Lerner insisted during a May 22, 2013  congressional inquiry that she did ‘nothing wrong,’ but then asserted her Fifth  Amendment right against self-incrimination and left the hearing. She was later  placed on administrative leave, with pay

Rep. Sander Levin, the Ways and Means  Committee’s ranking Democrat, told The Washington Times on Thursday that Republicans have failed to uncover a smoking gun that  demonstrates any poltical favoritism.

‘Lois Lerner was incompetent in her  management of the IRS tax-exempt division and unprofessional in her conduct –  reasons why I immediately called for her to be relieved of her duties,’ Levin  said, claiming the GOP was engaging in ‘selective leaking’ of documents to the  press.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2419512/Lois-Lerner-emails-IRS-official-knew-agency-targeted-conservative-groups.html#ixzz2ekjy6Fso Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Lois Lerner emails from Ways and Means.pdf by MailOnline

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