IRS official at heart of tea party scandal retires
By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER — Associated Press
Lois Lerner, the Internal Revenue Service official at the center of the agency’s tea party scandal, is retiring, the agency confirmed Monday.
Lerner headed the IRS division that handles applications for tax-exempt status when she was placed on paid leave in May. While she was in charge, the agency acknowledged that agents improperly targeted tea party groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status from 2010 to 2012.
Lerner first disclosed the targeting at a law conference in May, when she was asked a planted question about IRS treatment of political groups. Less than two weeks later, she refused to answer questions at a congressional hearing, citing her constitutional right not to incriminate herself.
Republicans in Congress have repeatedly called for her to be fired. The IRS said in a statement that privacy laws prevented it from commenting further about an individual employee.
Lerner’s revelation at the May 10 tax conference set off a firestorm at the agency. President Barack Obama forced the acting commissioner to resign and much of the agency’s top leadership was replaced. Three congressional committees and the Justice Department launched investigations.
Lerner initially said the targeting was limited to agents working in a Cincinnati office. Congressional investigations have since discovered evidence that IRS officials in Washington were aware that tea party applications were being delayed for years in some cases while the groups endured sometimes burdensome scrutiny.
However, investigators have released no evidence showing that anyone outside the IRS ordered the targeting or knew it was happening.
Uh, I believe that final excerpted statement is incorrect, but I’m going to have to crawl out of the research cave I’ve been in for three days relating to another matter and look into it.
Let’s also be accurate and note that the scandal is NOT limited to “tea party” groups. Social conservative and general conservative organizations have also been targeted.