[VIDEO] SMIDGEN REPORT UPDATE: Politico Sat on Allegations Lois Lerner Had Prior History of Targeting Conservatives

Politico is not the only news organization to ignore Salvi’s story

T. Becket Adams writes: Politico scored a journalistic coup with its exclusive 2014 profile on Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of the agency’s targeting of conservative groups.Al-Salvi

But a former Illinois lawmaker who said Politico contacted him repeatedly that year with questions regarding claims he was targeted by Lerner in the mid-1990s has been left wondering why the news group chose to ignore his documented dealings with the former federal official.

“I spent something like an hour and a half talking to Politico about this,” said Salvi, whose dealings with the FEC are well documented by the federal agency. “And I’m nowhere in the story. They had no intention of using anything I said.”

“I was shocked,” Al Salvi told the Washington Examiner‘s media desk, describing what he characterizes as several “lengthy” interviews with Politico reporter Rachael Bade.

Lerner went after his 1996 Senate campaign with a lawsuit totaling $1.1 million — an enforcement action that was eventually thrown out of court — when she was working at the Federal Election Commission, according to Salvi.smdg-tv2

“Every interview I had, the first thing people would say is: Tell us about your investigation. People thought I was going to jail!”

— Al Salvi, whose dealings with the FEC are well documented by the federal agency.

“I spent something like an hour and a half talking to Politico about this,” said Salvi, whose dealings with the FEC are well documented by the federal agency. “And I’m nowhere in the story. They had no intention of using anything I said.”

With its Lerner profile, titled “Exclusive: Lois Lerner breaks silence,” Politico became the first news group to gain access to the embattled former bureaucrat, who resigned from the Internal Revenue Service after bombshell revelations in 2013 that the IRS had singled out Tea Party and other conservative nonprofits for exceptional scrutiny and slow-walking of applications for tax exemptions.

Lerner headed the tax agency’s exempt organizations division at the time.

In 1996, Salvi, a representative in the Illinois state house, ran for an open U.S. Senate seat against then-Rep. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. His campaign attracted powerful scrutiny from the Federal Election Commission’s enforcement division, creating a scandal that Salvi said cost him the race.

031215Lerner-letter

The FEC was responding to a complaint lodged by Gary LaPaille, the Democratic Party’s state chairman. And the commission’s enforcement division was headed at the time by none other than Lois Lerner.

On Oct. 22, 1996, Lerner’s FEC division found”reason to believe” Salvi misreported nearly $1.1 million in contributions and O-SMDGE-CONDENSEDloans, the agency said in a court filing. Later, in an letter dated Oct. 29, 1996, addressed to Salvi’s legal representative at the time, Bobby Burchfield, which shows that Salvi did have some form of contact with Lerner, the FEC announced it had closed its file against the Republican candidate.

And although the FEC’s case was eventually dismissed that year on technical grounds, Salvi ended up losing to Durbin, who is now a powerful senator. Salvi continues to blame the FEC scrutiny and the negative press it brought his campaign for souring voters in the Prairie State.

“Every interview I had, the first thing people would say is: Tell us about your investigation,” Salvi told the Examiner. “People thought I was going to jail!”

Later, after losing his Senate bid, Salvi announced he would run for Illinois secretary of state. But the charges of financial wrongdoing continued to dog Salvi, even after he secured the nomination of the state’s Republican Party.

The longtime Republican told the Examiner this was when he came into direct contact with Lerner.

“I called [former FEC attorney] Colleen Sealander and said, ‘With all due respect, I want to talk to the person who’s pulling all the strings here: Lois Lerner,” he said, adding that he knew her name because her signature was included on several FEC letters and court documents in his possession.

Lerner then reportedly said the following to Salvi in a phone conversation: “Look, we don’t want any money. Just promise us you will not run for public office again and we’ll drop it. ”

Salvi said he then asked Lerner to put that in writing, which allegedly prompted her to say: “No. We don’t do that.”

In 1997, after it had already dropped its first case against Salvi, the FEC again charged the Republican with misreporting his 1996 campaign finances…..(read more)

WashingtonExaminer.com



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