News & Politics

Justice Department Refuses to Prosecute Lois Lerner

Lois Lerner (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The IRS official at the center of the targeting scandal will not face criminal charges for her actions, says the Department of Justice.

Last April, Republicans in Congress asked DoJ to revisit the case against Lerner, believing that the Obama Justice Department short-circuited the criminal investigation of Lerner for political reasons.

But after another review of the evidence by lawyers not involved in the initial investigation, DoJ told House Republicans that they didn’t believe it was “appropriate” to take action at this time.

Washington Times:

“After this process, the Department determined that reopening the investigation would not be appropriate based on the available evidence,” Mr. Boyd said.

He said if new information is developed, the decision could be revisited.

Republicans on Capitol Hill called the decision “terrible.”

“It sends the message that the same legal, ethical, and Constitutional standards we all live by do not apply to Washington political appointees — who will now have the green light to target Americans for their political beliefs and mislead investigators without ever being held accountable for their lawlessness,” said House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady.

He said he respects Attorney General Jeff Sessions, but was “troubled” by his department’s handling of the request to investigate Ms. Lerner.

“The decision not to prosecute Lois Lerner is a miscarriage of justice,” said Rep. Peter Roskam, an Illinois Republican who was one of the key lawmakers pushing for an investigation.

Ms. Lerner led the division of the IRS that singled out conservative and tea party groups for intrusive scrutiny in their applications for nonprofit status.

Conservative groups say she facilitated the targeting.

But a Justice Department investigation under the Obama administration said Ms. Lerner actually took steps to try to repair the targeting when she learned of it.

The Washington Examiner reported on the real reason DoJ is not prosecuting Lerner:

Boyd wrote Friday that the department “carefully reviewed” its original 2015 decision not to prosecute, and had new attorneys independently review the investigation. He said that to convict Lerner, it would be necessary to prove that she intentionally discriminated against the groups based on their political views.

“I assure you that the Department has carefully studied the law, given the evidence the utmost consideration, and thoroughly reviewed the prior investigation from an objective perspective,” he wrote.

First, it should be noted that Lerner took steps to try to repair the targeting only after the program was going to be exposed. For two years after she discovered the targeting, it continued.

But the Justice Department prosecutors are in a difficult position. While Lerner’s pattern of behavior more than suggests she’s a criminal, proving intent is another matter entirely. The IRS claimed that low-level bureaucrats in the Cincinnati office were overzealous in their investigations. While that’s a load of crap, the emails and other documents that might prove intentional targeting by the IRS were either “lost” or destroyed — purely “accidental” don’t you know.

The difference between identifying an obvious pattern of illegal behavior and proving the malevolent intent of the agency in a court of law is the difference between bringing Lerner to justice and allowing her to get away with it.