According to a series of email correspondences unearthed by Judicial Watch, the improper targeting of conservative groups under former IRS official Lois Lerner went much further than just undue tax scrutiny.
An initial email, sent May 9, 2013, from Lerner to then-Acting IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller’s chief of staff Nikole Flax, attempted to coordinate action between the IRS and Eric Holder’s Justice Department to take down certain nonprofit organizations.
I got a call today from Richard Pilger Director Elections Crimes Branch at DOJ … He wanted to know who at IRS the DOJ folk s [sic] could talk to about Sen. Whitehouse idea at the hearing that DOJ could piece together false statement cases about applicants who “lied” on their 1024s –saying they weren’t planning on doing political activity, and then turning around and making large visible political expenditures. DOJ is feeling like it needs to respond, but want to talk to the right folks at IRS to see whether there are impediments from our side and what, if any damage this might do to IRS programs.
The senator she referenced, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, held a hearing the previous month during which he wondered why the DOJ had not prosecuted nonprofits the IRS claimed had made false statements regarding their political activity.
The emails, attained through a Freedom of Information Act request by Judicial Watch, included Flax’s apparent approval of Lerner’s proposal, which was sent the following day.
I think we should do it – also need to include CI [Criminal Investigation Division], which we can help coordinate. Also, we need to reach out to FEC. Does it make sense to consider including them in this or keep it separate?
According to the emails, Lerner contacted IRS senior technical adviser Nancy Marks to coordinate a meeting with the DOJ and, possibly, members of the Federal Elections Commission.
The email exchange between Lerner and Flax was completed just one day before the former infamously blamed “low-level” IRS agents in Cincinnati for the improper targeting of conservatives. Later the same month, she refused to answer questions during testimony before the House Oversight Committee.
She retired from the IRS in September and, earlier this month, was found in contempt of Congress by the House Ways and Means Committee.
Photo Credit: Facebook/Lois Lerner