Unearthed emails show knowledge IRS was secretly targeting conservative groups
By David Martosko
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.
…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.’