March 11, 2014
IRS SCANDAL UPDATE: House Releases Report on Lois Lerner’s Role in the IRS Scandal. 141 pages, summary at the link. Full report here. Some key bits:
Lerner broke IRS rules by mishandling taxpayer information: While Lerner told Congress under oath, “I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations,” e-mails show Lerner handled protected 6103 taxpayer information in her nonofficial e-mail account. In a November 2013 letter from Daniel Werfel, Werfel notes, “We do not permit IRS officials to send taxpayer information to their personal email addresses. An IRS employee should not send taxpayer information to his or her personal email address in any form, including redacted.” – p. 33
Lerner planned to retire in October all along: While House Democrats have pushed that Lerner was forced out by the IRS as a result of the TIGTA report; new e-mails indicate that Lerner had planned an October retirement long before TIGTA released its report. Her paid leave amounted to a paid vacation preceding her retirement – it does not appear that the IRS penalized her in any way for her conduct. – p. 40-41
Despite knowing about improper scrutiny, Lerner had IRS blame victims: An IRS document bearing Lerner’s signature shows that in March 2012, despite knowing about improper scrutiny at that time, Lerner reviewed and signed off on a response to Congress that blamed applicants for heightened scrutiny. “[T]he IRS contacts the organization and solicits additional information when the organization does not provide sufficient information in response to the questions on the Form 1024 or if issues are raised by the application …. The revenue agent uses sound reasoning based on tax law training and his or her experience to review the application and identify the additional information needed to make a proper determination of the organization’s exempt status.” – p. 36
Concern Citizens United hurting Democrats: Lerner believed the Executive Branch needed to take steps to undermine the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. A senior advisor to Lerner e-mailed her an article about allegations that unknown conservative donors were influencing U.S. Senate races. The article explained how outside money was making it increasingly difficult for Democrats to remain in the majority in the Senate. Lerner replied: “Perhaps the FEC will save the day.” – p. 21
Much more at the link.