House Republicans Urge Justice Department to Investigate IRS Targeting Scandal

After Obama administration refused to review IRS conduct, Republicans request fresh look at evidence

Lois Lerner
Lois Lerner / Getty Images
April 13, 2017

House Republicans Rep. Peter Roskam (R., Ill.) and Rep. Kevin Brady (R., Texas) wrote a letter to the Department of Justice urging the agency to investigate evidence regarding Lois Lerner's misconduct in the IRS targeting scandal after the Obama administration refused to hold anyone accountable.

The IRS began targeting conservative and tea party groups' applications for tax-exempt status based on their political ideology in 2010 and delayed their approval before the 2012 presidential election. Some groups are still waiting for their status to be approved.

Lois Lerner, who headed the tax-exempt status division of the IRS at the time, confessed in 2013 at an American Bar Association meeting that conservative groups were targeted on political beliefs, but blamed low-level employees for the targeting. That same month, Lerner pleaded the fifth at the Oversight and Government Reform House committee.

In 2014, the House Ways and Means committee voted to send a letter to the Justice Department to refer Lerner for criminal prosecution. Former President Obama said during the Justice Department's investigation that there was not a smidgeon of corruption at the IRS. Later in October 2015, it was announced that the agency would not bring charges against Lerner, and no one was held responsible.

Now, lawmakers are attempting to write to the agency again with a new administration and attorney general to review the evidence.

"The Committee's nearly three-year investigation uncovered evidence of willful misconduct on the part of Ms. Lerner," wrote Roskam and Brady. "Despite this fact, and for what many believe were purely partisan reasons, the prior administration refused to review Ms. Lerner's misconduct."

"The Committee found that Ms. Lerner used her position to improperly influence IRS action against conservative organizations, denying these groups due process and equal protection rights under the law," the lawmakers said. "The Committee also found she impeded official investigations by providing misleading statements in response to questions from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration."

"Finally, Lerner risked exposing, and may actually have disclosed, confidential taxpayer information, in apparent violation of Internal Revenue Code section 6103 by using her personal email to conduct official business," they said.

Published under: IRS