Everyone in Washington has a P.R. machine, or at minimum, an agenda. That’s certainly the case with Lois Lerner, the former IRS executive whose division targeted conservative nonprofit applicants with delays and harassment.
“Lerner is willing to testify only in the news media, where the whole truth is not required and irrelevant information can be shared to make her seem less unsympathetic.”
Lerner’s division of the IRS systematically obstructed and denied status to Tea Party groups while subjecting many of the smallest ones — those most vulnerable and least likely to be lawyered up — to inappropriate demands for information that was not legally required. In one case, this included the content of the opening prayer recited in meetings, and in others, this IRS Inquisition demanded that leaders of certain groups pledge never to run for office.
Lerner is out of that business now, and on to a new campaign. This campaign, in which she has enlisted friends and former colleagues, aims to tell the side of the story that she has refused to give Congress under oath.
The resulting Politico piece includes — this is no joke — the revelations that she once baked brownies for colleagues and that she loves dogs. How delightful for her and the dogs! But so what? Lerner cited the Fifth Amendment and refused to answer questions about her involvement in this scandal. The reason for doing that is that she believes her answers could facilitate a criminal prosecution against her. The mysterious destruction of evidence in this case strongly suggests she is right to worry about that. So does her concerned email inquiry to government IT workers as to whether her instant messages with colleagues could ever be obtained by congressional investigators. Read the rest of this entry »
The documents show Lerner’s efforts to persuade Treasury auditors that there was no institutional bias at the IRS, the agency’s attempts to head off a damaging investigation with a pre-emptive apology, and Lerner’s pep talk to her staff after the apology.
WASHINGTON — Gregory Korte reports: The day that former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner publicly apologized for using “inappropriate criteria” to delay tax exemptions for Tea Party groups, she told her colleagues that they were being “beaten up by the press for all the wrong reasons.”
It was only going to get worse, she told them in an e-mail, and there was no way around it other than to “ride it through.”
Then she left for a week’s vacation in Canada.
That e-mail comes in 1,706 pages of newly released documents that shed light on the damage control happening at the IRS — and at the watchdog agency investigating it — as the scandal blew up last year. Read the rest of this entry »
Connor D. Wolf reports: The official at the center of the Internal Revenue Service tea party scandal once dismissed complaints that labor unions were not reporting millions of dollars in political activities on their tax forms, according to an email obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“We believe this difference in reporting does not necessarily indicate that the organization has incorrectly reported to either the DOL or the IRS.”
In 2007, Lerner responded directly to a complaint that some major labor unions reported completely different amounts of political expenditures when filing with the IRS and the Department of Labor.
At the time of the email, Lerner was the Director of Exempt Organizations at the IRS. Read the rest of this entry »
IRS Destroyed Lois Lerner Blackberry When? AFTER Congressional Inquiry Began, That’s When.
NRO‘s Ian Tuttle reports: According to the second round of IRS affidavits submitted to U.S. district court judge Emmett Sullivan, who is presiding over the lawsuit brought against the nation’s tax agency by watchdog group Judicial Watch, Inc., IRS technical analysts did not search Lois Lerner’s Blackberry for her allegedly “lost” e-mails — and the smartphone was destroyed after congressional investigation had begun.
“There is no record of any attempt by any IRS IT employee to recover data from any Blackberry device assigned to Lois Lerner in response to the Congressional investigations or this litigation.”
— Stephen Manning, IRS Information Technology business unit
Lerner’s government-issued laptop reportedly crashed in June 2011, at which time IRS analysts tried but failed to recover data, including e-mail communications, according to previous testimony. In his sworn declaration, Stephen Manning – deputy chief information officer for strategy and modernization with the IRS Information Technology business unit – reports that “there is no record of any attempt by any IRS IT employee to recover data from any Blackberry device assigned to Lois Lerner in response to the Congressional investigations or this litigation.” This despite the fact that Lerner had been in possession of a government-issued Blackberry since November 2009, according to the statement of Thomas J. Kane – deputy associate chief counsel for procedure and administration within the IRS Office of Chief Counsel – and it would likely have hosted at least some of Lerner’s electronic communications….(read more)
Lois Lerner Called Conservatives ‘Assholes,’ Fantasized About Working At Obama Group
“Well, you should hear the whacko wing of the GOP. The US is through; too many foreigners sucking the teat; time to hunker down, buy ammo and food, and prepare for the end. The right wing radio shows are scary to listen to.”
“So we don’t need to worry about teRroists [sic]. It’s our own crazies that will take us down,” Lerner wrote in a Nov. 9, 2012 email exchange with an IRS colleague.
Ways and Means Committee chairman Dave Camp revealed the emails in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder.
Lerner’s disdain for the right is central to an investigation into whether she targeted conservative groups who were seeking tax-exempt status. Republicans have accused the former director of the IRS’s exempt organizations division of possible criminal wrongdoing in targeting the groups.
“Great. Maybe we are through if there are that many assholes.”
— Lois Lerner
“This email shows that Ms. Lerner’s mistreatment of conservative groups was driven by her personal hostility toward conservatives,” Camp wrote. Read the rest of this entry »
The head of the IRS confirmed Wednesday that investigators looking into missing emails from ex-agency official Lois Lerner have found and are reviewing “backup tapes” — despite earlier IRS claims that the tapes had been recycled.
“It is unbelievable that we cannot get a simple, straight answer from the IRS about this hard drive.”
— House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, testifying before a House oversight subcommittee, stressed that he does not know “how they found them” or “whether there’s anything on them or not.” But he said the inspector general’s office advised him the investigators are reviewing tapes to see if they contain any “recoverable” material.
The revelation is significant because the IRS claimed, when the agency first told Congress about the missing emails, that backup tapes “no longer exist because they have been recycled.”
It is unclear whether the tapes in IG custody contain any Lerner emails, but Koskinen said investigators are now checking. Read the rest of this entry »
“There is an issue as to whether or not there is a ‑‑ that all of the backup recovery tapes were destroyed on the 6‑month retention schedule.”
— IRS Deputy Associate Chief Counsel Thomas Kane
For The Daily Caller, Patrick Howley reports: IRS Deputy Associate Chief Counsel Thomas Kane said in transcribed congressional testimony that more IRS officials experienced computer crashes, bringing the total number of crash victims to “less than 20,” and also said that the agency does not know if the lost emails are stillbacked up somewhere.
“So some of those backup tapes may still exist?”
“I don’t know whether they are or they aren’t, but it’s an issue that’s being looked at.”
WASHINGTON (AP/ Breitbart) reports: The Justice Department is investigating the circumstances behind the disappearance of emails from a former senior Internal Revenue Service official, part of a broader criminal inquiry into whether the agency had targeted conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, according to congressional testimony released Wednesday.
In a statement to be delivered to a congressional committee on Thursday, Deputy Attorney General James Cole says investigators are looking into emails that went missing from the computer of Lois Lerner.
Cole was to appear before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which has been investigating the matter. He declined to provide additional information about the investigation, according to prepared remarks issued ahead of his appearance.
The IRS has said it lost the emails in 2011 when Lerner’s computer crashed. At the time, Lerner headed the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt status. Read the rest of this entry »
For The Washington Post, mirroring punditfromanotherplanet‘s favorite ongoing theme, Ed Rogers writes: Anyone paying attention to the Internal Revenue Service scandal has been waiting for the next smidgen to drop. Well, two more hit pretty hard this week. At the president’s next encounter with the media, I will scream collusion if no one asks him for his exact definition of a “smidgen,” and if he thinks he has seen a smidgen of corruption yet. At this point, only the most gullible or culpable can continue to claim there is no compelling evidence in this case. Given the delays,lies and stonewalling, there is no viable argument against a special prosecutor.
“This is a smoking gun e-mail in that it makes plain she had a cover-up in mind. There is no other plausible explanation.”
Who knows how many of her colleagues and allies are breathing a sigh of relief upon learning that their e-mails to Lerner were destroyed and their instant messages not recorded? I think Lerner must have a sizable silent cheering section in Washington; people who are rooting for her to hang tough in pleading the Fifth and hoping that she does not go wobbly on them.
[Also see Jazz Shaw‘s commentary – The Lerner Files: “smidgens upon smidgens” of corruption]
I’ll bet her government retirement check is one check that never gets lost in the mail or delayed. Read the rest of this entry »
For National Review Online, Andrew Johnson writes: Lois Lerner isn’t to blame for the loss of thousands of emails sent during the period of the IRS’s alleged targeting of conservative groups, according to her attorney…
“The truth is this was one of those things that happened — at the time she did everything she could to retrieve it.”
Appearing on State of the Union, William Taylor explained that Lerner’s computer screen “went blue” one day, and ultimately resulted in her losing all of her emails during a two-year span.
“That’s the story — that’s all there is to it.”
“Congressional investigators are fuming over revelations that the Internal Revenue Service has lost a trove of emails to and from a central figure in the agency’s tea party controversy.”
That’s the opening sentence of the Associated Press’ story on the IRS’ claim that it lost an unknown number of emails over two years relating to the agency’s alleged targeting of political groups hostile to the president.
But note how the AP casts the story: The investigators — Republican lawmakers — are outraged.
Is it really so hard to imagine that if this were a Republican administration, the story wouldn’t be the frustration of partisan critics of the president? It would be all about that administration’s behavior. With the exception of National Journal’s Ron Fournier, who called for a special prosecutor to bypass the White House’s “stonewalling,” and former CBS correspondent Sharyl Attkisson, it’s hard to find a non-conservative journalist who thinks this is a big deal.
Let’s back up for a moment. Read the rest of this entry »
UPDATE: For National Review Online, Eliana Johnson writes: It’s not just Lois Lerner’s e-mails. The Internal Revenue Service says it can’t produce e-mails from six more employees involved in the targeting of conservative groups, according to two Republicans investigating the scandal.
The IRS recently informed Ways and Means chairman Dave Camp and subcommittee chairman Charles Boustany that computer crashes resulted in additional lost e-mails, including from Nikole Flax, the chief of staff to former IRS commissioner Steven Miller, who was fired in the wake of the targeting scandal.
The revelation about Lerner’s e-mails rekindled the targeting scandal and today’s news has further inflamed Republicans. Read the rest of this entry »
Giving it to you straight, is Mediaite:
The House of Representatives voted 231-187 tonight to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress, weeks after the House Oversight Committee voted to bring the contempt charge to the House floor. The point of contention is whether Lerner waived her Fifth Amendment rights during hearings into IRS political targeting. In addition to the contempt charge, last month the House Ways and Means Committee voted to refer Lerner to the Justice Department for a possible investigation into criminal charges.
Written by Jeremy W. Peters, it’s crafted to be the least upsetting to their Tea-Party hating readers. It’s meant to reassure them that it’s not a real hearing, about real crimes, it’s 100% political, lead by mean, witch-hunting, conspiracy-deranged Republicans, against innocent, law-abiding, hard-working servants of the people. Thank goodness it’s not about Lois Lerner’s accountability, or abuses against citizens by the IRS.
It includes this photo of an “angry-looking” Republican white male:
Here’s some choice quotes:
“Democrats invoked former Senator Joseph R. McCarthy and delusions of widespread conspiracy.”
This is one of those days where I think Matt Drudge is imitating my obsessions, rather than the other way around. Wishful thinking, I know. But readers here know, Lois Lerner is our favorite voodoo doll. At punditfromanotherplanet, a day without Lois Lerner is a day without sunshine.
For the Washington Examiner, Joel Gehrke reports: House Ways and Means Committee Republicans aren’t ruling out the use of the chamber’s “inherent contempt” authority if Attorney General Eric Holder refuses to act on the panel’s accusations against former IRS official Lois Lerner.
The committee voted Wednesday to seek an investigation of whether Lerner violated federal law by using her power to ensure Right-leaning groups were targeted for extra scrutiny by the agency, giving misleading information during a probe of the matter by the Treasury Department‘s inspector general and using her personal email to conduct official business, which could have resulted in the disclosure of confidential taxpayer information.
Congress votes Lerner in contempt of Congress, refers prosecution to Attorney General who Congress voted in contempt of Congress
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) April 9, 2014
“The Ways and Means Committee, led by Chairman [Dave] Camp [R-Mich.], has conducted a serious and thorough investigation of the IRS, uncovering abuses and criminal acts that should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said of the referral. “As I’ve said, if Lois Lerner continues to refuse to testify, then the House will hold her in contempt. And we will continue to shine the light on the administration’s abusive actions and use every tool at our disposal to expose the truth and ensure the American people get the answers they deserve.”
John D. McKinnon writes: A new report by House Republicans concludes that former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner engaged in wide-ranging, politically motivated efforts to hamper conservatives’ use of tax-exempt organizations.
“Can you please send me a copy of the Crossroads [GPS] application? Lois wants Judy to take a look at it so she can summarize the issues for Lois…”
— IRS email from mid-2011
The report by Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said Ms. Lerner “believed the political participation of tax-exempt organizations harmed Democratic candidates, she believed something needed to be done, and she directed action from her unit at the IRS.”
Lois G. Lerner, the woman at the center of the Internal Revenue Service scandal over special scrutiny of conservative groups, specifically targeted tea party applications and directed that they be held up in 2011 in order to come up with an agency policy, according to several of Ms. Lerner’s emails released by a House committee Thursday.
BREAKING NEWS: Girl feud! Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus tangle over slip of the tongue
Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus were supposedly girlfriends! — but are they anymore? Comments Perry made on TV while promoting her Prismatic tour Down Under made their way halfway around the world, and Cyrus is not happy.
It all started Monday on Australia’s “Sunrise” program, when one of the hosts riffed off Perry’s hit “I Kissed a Girl” to lead into a discussion of the “Roar” singer’s recent lip-lock with Cyrus during one of the “Wrecking Ball” singer’s shows.
“Scandalous!” Perry joked, before explaining what went down….Read more >>> LATimes
Note: Use Lois Lerner story only if the new photos of Miley Cyrus don’t come in by deadline. Bump this, see if there’s any room for it next week, thanks. –Ed. Move to Page D 17, bottom of page: “Emails Show IRS Lois Lerner Specifically Targeted Tea Party”
Stephen Dinan and Seth McLaughlin report: Lois G. Lerner, the woman at the center of the Internal Revenue Service scandal over special scrutiny of conservative groups, specifically targeted tea party applications and directed that they be held up in 2011 in order to come up with an agency policy, according to several of Ms. Lerner’s emails released by a House committee Thursday.
In one 2011 email, Ms. Lerner specifically calls the tea party applications for tax-exempt status problematic, which seems to counter Democrats’ arguments that tea party groups weren’t targeted.
“Tea Party Matter very dangerous,” Ms. Lerner wrote in the 2011 email, saying that those applications could end up being the “vehicle to go to court” to get more clarity on a 2010 Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance rules.
“…prior to her decision in favor of voluntarily retiring, Lerner was in danger of being removed from her job due to findings from an IRS inquiry board citing “neglect of duties” and mismanagement…”
Executive vice president for the National Taxpayers Union Pete Sepp reports: Even before she retired, scandalized IRS official Lois Lerner’s compensation was already attracting attention. While on administrative leave, federal rules allowed her to keep collecting a salary, one that reportedly totaled $177,000. So it was no surprise when speculation arose over how much Lerner could collect in federal pension benefits.
Unfortunately, that speculation, which initially projected a benefit of over $50,000, might be off by about half … and in the wrong direction.
National Taxpayers Union calculations show that Lerner could qualify for a starting pension at the annual equivalent of as much as $102,600, and up to $3.96 million over her lifetime.
The individual retirement choices of federal employees are not a matter of public record. However, precisely because NTU has been denied this information in the past (specifically pertaining to Members of Congress), we’ve developed the most accurate method available to provide solid estimates of how much federal employees can collect.
Best Excuse to Avoid Being Sworn in, Give Testimony: Lois Lerner’s Lawyer Whines to Darrell Issa ‘My Client is Facing Threats’Posted: March 3, 2014
“Ms. Lerner has been the subject of numerous threats on her life and safety, and on the life and safety of her family,” her lawyer William Taylor III wrote to Issa on Wednesday morning in a letter obtained by POLITICO…
“Oh, yes, well, that changes everything, definitely. You’re right. She doesn’t have to obey the same laws the rest of us do. Lois? You can go home, it’s okay, you don’t have to testify.”
Lois Lerner, the official involved in the IRS‘s targeting of conservative and Tea Party groups, will testify before Congress on Wednesday, according to House oversight committee chairman Darrell Issa.
“We believe that evidence that we’ve gathered causes her, in her best interest, to be someone who should testify.”
Lerner had previously invoked the Fifth Amendment and refused to answer questions from members of Congress about her role in the IRS scandal.
Politics: New emails show that the woman at the center of the IRS scandal over special scrutiny of conservative groups’ applications for tax-exempt status targeted tea party applications specifically and directed they be held up. Read the rest of this entry »
Top IRS official will invoke 5th Amendment. “A top IRS official in the division that reviews nonprofit groups will invoke the 5th Amendment and refuse to answer questions before a House committee investigating the agency’s improper screening of conservative nonprofit groups. Lois Lerner, the head of the exempt organizations division of the IRS, won’t answer questions about what she knew about the improper screening — or why she didn’t disclose it to Congress, according to a letter from her defense lawyer, William W. Taylor III. Lerner was scheduled to appear before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday.” She’s lawyered-up, and not just with any lawyer, either.
UPDATE: “Look forward to reading tomorrow’s pieces explaining how GOP is overplaying hand by pointing out that Lerner is pleading 5th.” No scandal here — she just doesn’t want to talk because telling the truth might incriminate her…