IRS Tea Party Targeting Scandal may not be over
Texas Insider Report: WASHINGTON, D.C. — Texas Cong. Kevin Brady, Chairman of the powerful House Ways & Means Committee, and Cong. Peter Roskam, Chairman of the Tax Policy Subcommittee, sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions Wednesday, 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.
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.
Noting that the Obama Administration refused to review the information the committee gathered in its extensive investigation into the matter, the Congressmen say there is clear and abundant evidence that Lerner willfully partook in criminal activity during her tenure as the Internal Revenue Service’s Exempt Organizations Division Director, and that the matter is an important issue that needs to be resolved in order to restore American taxpayer’s confidence in the Federal Government and the Internal Revenue Service.
“On April 9, 2014, the House Committee on Ways & 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.”
Former President Barak Obama insisted, at the time of the original disclosure of the possible corruption, that there was “not a smidgeon of corruption” at the agency.
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 tax payers’ confidential information at risk of exposure, as reasons for reopening the investigation.
The DOJ announced in October, 2015, that 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
- Absence of Email Archives
- 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,” said the Congressmen in their letter.
“Taxpayers deserve to know that the DOJ’s previous evaluation was not tainted by politics.”
Earlier this year in February, House Committee on Ways & Means Chairman Brady said he would like to see IRS Commissioner John Koskinen removed from his post Monday.
Koskinen has long been taking heat from Republicans, who have criticized the commissioner for allegedly defying congressional subpoenas and preservation orders by allowing the IRS to destroy 422 backup tapes belonging to agency official Lois Lerner during the investigation into the agency’s targeting scandal.
“Frankly in my view, the most corrupt IRS commissioner that I’ve ever dealt with continues in my view to mislead Congress,” Brady told reporters.
“And until he’s removed I don’t think the IRS will ever regain it’s credibility.”
The Texas Republican said in addition to Koskinen attempting to mislead the American public, the IRS has failed to improve its customer service, giving congressional Republicans even more of an incentive to revamp the agency.
The House GOP’s “A Better Way” Agenda calls for a complete overhaul of the agency, which would create more transparency and make it more user-friendly.
“It certainly isn’t making an effort toward customer service, and it is one of the reasons why in our tax reform proposal we dramatically simplified the tax code,” Brady said.
“So, we’re proposing to bust up the IRS, redesign it into a 21st centuries agency focused on tax payer service.”
Brady isn’t the first GOP lawmaker to call on President Donald Trump to fire Koskinen. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (right,) and Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker have also called for him to be replaced.