Judicial Watch has just released a new batch of documents forced out of the IRS that show the Obama administration’s scandalous misuse of the IRS to target Tea Party and other conservatives goes far deeper than realized.
Included in the new batch of documents is a February 2012 email from Lois Lerner, who was then head of the IRS’ Exempt Organizations Branch, asking that a special program be set up to “put together some training points to help [IRS staffers] understand the potential pitfalls” of revealing too much information to Congress. Amid the hundreds of released pages, Judicial Watch also found a remarkable Lerner email from 2013 in which she says she is willing to take the blame for not having provided sufficient direction to her underlings on how best to investigate the targeted groups, and then concedes that she “understands why the IRS criteria” leading to targeting of Tea Party groups and other opponents of President Obama “might raise questions.”
In May 2013, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) released an audit revealing the IRS had used “inappropriate criteria” to identify potential political cases. “Early in Calendar Year 2010,” TIGTA wrote, “the IRS began using inappropriate criteria to identify organizations applying for tax-exempt status to (e.g., lists of past and future donors).” The illegal IRS reviews continued for more than 18 months and, TIGTA reported, “delayed processing of targeted groups’ applications” preparing for the 2012 presidential election.”
Not so coincidentally, during this period of time, Lerner emailed former Director of the Office of Rulings and Agreements Holly Paz, attempting to limit information provided by the IRS to Congress about non-profit classifications. Here is the exchange:
Thursday, February 16, 2012 1:28 PM– Lois Lerner to Holly Paz:
Subject: Review of Classification Write -Ups
While you were gone, Judy [Kindell – former Lerner advisor] and Sharon [Light – Lerner advisor] had the opportunity to look at some of the write –up from the referral committee and classification folks on cases they had reviewed. We are all a bit concerned about the mention of specific Congress people, practitioners and political parties. Our filed folks are not as sensitive as we are to the fact that anything we write can be public–or at least be seen by Congress. We talked with Nan [Downing – Director of EO Examinations] and she thought it would be great if R & A could put together some training points to help them understand the potential pitfalls, as well as how to think about referrals. As a starting point, Nan has sent up a bunch of papers that I asked Tom Miller [EO technical advisor] to review to provide feedback to Sharon/Judy –or whomever we decide should draft the training.