ONE DOWN: Lois Lerner, IRS official at heart of tea party scandal, retiresPosted: September 23, 2013
Stephen Dinan reports: The Internal Revenue Service said Monday that Lois G. Lerner, the woman at the center of the tea party targeting scandal, has resigned from the agency — though because of privacy rules it could say nothing more.
Ms. Lerner, who had been on paid administrative leave, was the director of the division that reviewed the applications for tax-exempt status from political groups over the past few years and that, according to an internal audit, gave extra scrutiny to tea party and other conservative groups.
She remains subject to congressional investigation.
Her actions put her at the center of the controversy, and several congressional committees had been looking into her behavior and into emails that seemed to suggest she was looking for reasons to deny political groups approval for tax-exempt status.
Last week, acting IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel said he had asked both a review board and the agency’s inspector general to look at the emails.
Republicans said Ms. Lerner’s resignation, while a first step, isn’t the end of the scandal.
“Just because Lois Lerner is retiring from the IRS does not mean the investigation is over. Far from it,” said Sen. Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee. “In fact, there are many serious, unanswered questions that must be addressed so we can get to the truth.”
Ms. Lerner had previously refused to testify to Congress, citing her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. But when she appeared before Congress she also delivered a brief statement claiming innocence, which some members of the House oversight committee said means she waived her right to silence.
She remains subject to being called back to testify before the committee.
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