Former chief of the Exempt Organizations Unit of the IRS, Lois Lerner, will not face charges following a re-examination of the case against her by the Trump Justice Department.
In a letter dated September 8, 2017, Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd responded to Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Rep. Peter Roskam’s (R-IL) April 12th request that the DOJ take a second look at the IRS targeting scandal.
The letter reads in part:
Consistent with the Treasury Inspector General’s findings, the Department’s 2015 Letter informed the Committee that the Department’s investigation uncovered substantial evidence of mismanagement at the IRS. Further, the Department concluded that the IRS’s mishandling of tax exempt applications disproportionately impacted applicants affiliated with Tea Party groups and similar organizations. However, the Department reported that its investigation had not uncovered evidence of criminal intent by any IRS official. The Department therefore stated that it was closing the investigation and would not pursue criminal charges. …
Earlier this year, the Office of the Attorney General and the Office of the Deputy Attorney General met with leaders in the Department’s Criminal Division responsible for supervising this matter for a detailed review and extensive discussions regarding the investigation; the evidence, including the information the Committee provided to the Department; and the prosecutorial decisions that were made. In addition, attorneys who recently joined the Department in leadership positions, and who had no prior involvement with this case, independently reviewed the investigation and the facts and law at issue. After this process, the Department determined that reopening the criminal investigation would not be appropriate based on the available evidence.
In providing this information, we note that, in this context, the applicable criminal statutes require proof beyond a reasonable doubt that a government employee intentionally discriminated against an applicant for tax-exempt status based upon viewpoint. …
I assure you that the Department has carefully studied the law, given the evidence the utmost consideration, and thoroughly reviewed the prior investigation from an objective perspective.
The New York Times reports that in 2013, Lois Lerner admitted “that the agency had singled out nonprofit applicants with the terms ‘Tea Party’ or ‘patriots’ in their titles in an effort to respond to a surge in applications for tax-exempt status between 2010 and 2012.”
She denied, however, that the singling out of particular groups was politically motivated.
Lerner retired in September 2013, after having been placed on “administrative leave.” She was held in contempt of Congress in 2014 as a result of her pleading the Fifth in the IRS targeting investigation.
The story gets even more bizarre.
Months into an investigation into Lerner’s emails, “422 backup tapes from the crucial 2010-2011 period … were erased by IRS workers. The tapes were destroyed in March 2014, according to the Treasury inspector general for the IRS, J. Russell George. That is long after lawmakers started trying to obtain all of Ms. Lerner’s emails, and after the IRS issued instructions for employees to stop routine destruction of documents that might relate to the probes,” reports The Wall Street Journal.
In June 2016, the list of targeted organizations was finally made public, and NPR reported that it was “top-heavy with conservative groups,” adding that “in all, 282 conservative groups were on the IRS list, about two-thirds of the total number of groups that got additional scrutiny.”
After all this, the Assistant AG, as well as the attorneys involved in the re-examination of the case, were allegedly unable to find proof beyond a reasonable doubt of discrimination against conservative organizations.