New Report on IRS Scandal: ‘Noose Tightens’ Around Lois Lerner’s Neck

Barb Wire

From the Washington Times

The noose tightens around the neck of Lois Lerner, once an enforcer at the Internal Revenue Service with duties to protect the interests of Democrats.

A new, 141-page report by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform makes a detailed case that she deliberately sought to obstruct the investigation. Two years ago, before she took the Fifth Amendment guarantee against self-incrimination, Ms. Lerner was positively chatty in informal briefings with the committee staff.

She said emphatically that the IRS had not changed the criteria used to evaluate which organizations qualify for tax-exempt status. Tea Party groups had complained that their applications were being held in limbo while left-wing groups’ applications sailed through easily.

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The committee says that was Lie No. 1, citing the Treasury Department inspector general’s documentation that Ms. Lerner ordered a change in criteria in June 2011.

She put the assertion in writing in a letter to the committee. These were identified as Lie No. 2 and Lie No. 3. The IRS commissioner’s chief of staff said this had never been done in the history of the agency.

Ms. Lerner apparently was alarmed when the Supreme Court upheld First Amendment rights in the Citizens United case in 2010, which overturned the Federal Election Commission’s restrictive prohibitions of political speech.

Ms. Lerner in an email message, told her colleagues that it was up to the executive branch to “undermine” the Citizens United decision.

The crucial question remains. Was Ms. Lerner acting alone or at the direction of the White House? Her refusal to answer questions leaves Congress with the responsibility to pursue and punish what is clearly contempt of Congress.

The public has a right to know who, if anyone, directed Ms. Lerner to interfere with the political process. Compelling her testimony looks now like the only way to find out the truth.

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