TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The IRS Scandal, Day 1435: House GOP Tax Writers Ask Attorney General To Reopen Criminal Investigation Of Lois Lerner

IRS Logo 2Letter from Kevin Brady (Chair, Ways & Means Committee) & Peter Roskam (Chair, Subcommittee on Tax Policy) to Attorney General Sessions (Apr. 12, 2017):

On April 9, 2014, the House Committee on Ways and Means voted to send a letter to the Department of Justice referring former IRS Exempt Organizations Division Director Lois G. Lerner for criminal prosecution.  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.  For the reasons described below, I respectfully request the Department of Justice to take a fresh look at the evidence presented in the attached referral in order to restore taxpayers’ trust in the IRS.

In particular, 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 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. 

As you know, your predecessor brought no charges against Ms. Lerner or any other IRS employees involved in the improper targeting of organizations applying for tax-exempt status. 

Disturbingly, in February 2014, while the investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) was ongoing, President Obama stated there was “not a smidgeon of corruption” at the IRS, preempting a fair investigation in which he had political equities.  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. 

Taxpayers deserve to know that the DOJ’s previous evaluation was not tainted by politics.  Again, I respectfully request that the Department of Justice to take a fresh look at the evidence presented in the attached referral in order to assure the American people that DOJ’s prior investigation was handled fairly and to restore taxpayers’ trust in the IRS.

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2017/04/the-irs-scandal-day-1435-house-gop-tax-writers-ask-attorney-general-sessions-to-reopen-criminal-inve.html

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Comments

I agree with this 100%. Either prosecute her or immunize her and subpoena her to testify before Congress. One or the other.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Apr 13, 2017 8:50:18 AM

You have done yeoman's work on this issue TaxProf -- thank you.

Posted by: Karen | Apr 13, 2017 9:25:03 AM

Making a criminal case and taking the Deep State actors to court is necessary to restore the rule of law. This is a Must.

Posted by: Joan | Apr 13, 2017 12:24:39 PM

As a retired IRS criminal investigator I am disgusted that the service allowed itself to be corrupted in this manner. Lerner (and any others involved) should be prosecuted to restore integrity and public confidence in the agency.

Posted by: Smitty | Apr 13, 2017 5:09:15 PM

New DOJ, new perspective. The prior administration had a very difficult time holding its own appointees and cabinet members accountable for false statements to Congress, violations of the Hatch Act, and pretty much everything else...

Posted by: MM | Apr 13, 2017 6:43:47 PM