by FRANCES MARTEL 6 Mar 2014, 12:51 AM
The Congressional investigation into whether the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative groups for persecution ended today on a controversial note after former official Lois Lerner refused to answer questions. The rough day for the investigation followed the release of emails corroborating political targeting of groups.
The emails, obtained by the House’s investigative committee, indicated that Lerner, in her official capacity, aimed to target political groups out of concern that the Citizens United ruling would lead to more suspicious or inappropriate tax filings. The ruling repealed much of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act and allowed individuals and political groups to contribute more to political candidates and parties.
Emails show IRS’ Lois Lerner specifically targeted tea party
Lois G. Lerner, the woman at the center of the Internal Revenue Service scandal over special scrutiny of conservative groups, specifically targeted tea party applications and directed that they be held up in 2011 in order to come up with an agency policy, according to several of Ms. Lerner’s emails released by a House committee Thursday.
In one 2011 email, Ms. Lerner specifically calls the tea party applications for tax-exempt status problematic, which seems to counter Democrats’ arguments that tea party groups weren’t targeted.
“Tea Party Matter very dangerous,” Ms. Lerner wrote in the 2011 email, saying that those applications could end up being the “vehicle to go to court” to get more clarity on a 2010 Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance rules.
In another email, from 2012, Ms. Lerner acknowledges that the agency’s handling of the tax-exempt applications had been bungled at the beginning, though she said steps had been taken to correct problems.
(Photo Credit: Flickr via Donkey Hotey)