Republicans Furious After Trump's DOJ Declines To Charge Lois Lerner

In what amounts to another act of inexcusable negligence by the Department of Justice, former IRS bureaucrat Lois Lerner – the woman who President Barack Obama put in charge of weaponizing the agency as a tool to suppress Tea Party groups – has escaped being charged for her role in the wide-ranging conspiracy, which involved at least five other employees.

The decision is the culmination of five years of lawsuits brought by conservative groups against Lerner and the IRS, which successfully forced the agency to release the names of 426 nonprofit groups that were systematically targeted for additional scrutiny. The scandal was first disclosed to the public in 2012, but evidence obtained by conservative groups revealed that Lerner and another high-ranking IRS official knew about it years before.

Predictably, conservatives are outraged by the decision – a rage that’s compounded by the DOJ’s reluctance to investigate former FBI Director James Comey and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch for possibly colluding to quash the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information, though Congress has nominally launched an investigation into the latter.

In the following statement, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton asked that Trump intervene and order a complete review of the scandal:

“I have zero confidence that the Justice Department did an adequate review of the IRS scandal. In fact, we’re still fighting the Justice Department and the IRS for records about this very scandal. Today’s decision comes as no surprise considering that the FBI collaborated with the IRS and is unlikely to investigate or prosecute itself.

 

President Trump should order a complete review of the whole issue. Meanwhile, we await accountability for IRS Commissioner Koskinen, who still serves and should be drummed out of office.”

In a news release about the decision, Judicial Watch recounted how litigation forced the IRS first to say that emails belonging to Lerner were supposedly missing and later declare to the court that the emails were on IRS back-up systems, exposing a proliferation of “record-keeping problems” at the agency.

Here’s a timeline of civil actions and disclosures related to the scandal:

In June 2014, the IRS claimed to have “lost” responsive emails belonging to Lerner and other IRS officials.

 

In July 2014 Judge Emmett Sullivan ordered the IRS to submit to the court a written declaration under oath about what happened to Lerner’s “lost” emails. The sworn declarations proved to be less than forthcoming.

 

In August 2014, Department of Justice attorneys for the IRS finally admitted Judicial Watch that Lerner’s emails, indeed all government computer records, are backed up by the federal government in case of a government-wide catastrophe. The IRS’ attorneys also disclosed that Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) was looking at several of these backup tapes.

 

In November 2014, the IRS told the court it had failed to search any of the IRS standard computer systems for the “missing” emails of Lerner and other IRS officials.

 

On February 26, 2015, TIGTA officials testified to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that it had received 744 backup tapes containing emails sent and received by Lerner.  This testimony showed that the IRS had falsely represented to both Congress, Judge Sullivan, and Judicial Watch that Lerner’s emails were irretrievably lost. The testimony also revealed that IRS officials responsible for responding to the document requests never asked for the backup tapes and that 424 backup tapes containing Lerner’s emails had been destroyed during the pendency of Judicial Watch’s lawsuit and Congressional investigations.

 

In June 2015, Judicial Watch forced the IRS to admit in a court filing that it was in possession of 6,400 “newly discovered” Lerner emails. Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered the IRS to provide answers on the status of the Lerner emails the IRS had previously declared lost. Judicial Watch raised questions about the IRS’ handling of the missing emails issue in a court filing, demanding answers about Lerner’s emails that had been recovered from the backup tapes.

 

In July 2015, U.S District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan threatened to hold John Koskinen, the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, and Justice Department attorneys in contempt of court after the IRS failed to produce status reports and recovered Lerner emails, as he had ordered on July 1, 2015.”

According to the Washington Examiner, after being asked by Republicans in April to take a "fresh look" at the case against Lerner, the Trump administration responded Friday that it had reviewed the case and decided against it.

Some Republicans in Congress openly questioned Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s judgment:

"[T]he Department determined that reopening the criminal investigation would not be appropriate based on the available evidence," Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd wrote in a letter to Kevin Brady, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Boyd added that the department had "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.

 

In his response, Ways and Means Chairman Brady called it a "terrible decision" that suggested political appointees were not being held accountable under the law.

 

"I have the utmost respect for Attorney General [Jeff] Sessions, but I'm troubled by his Department's lack of action to fully respond to our request and deliver accountability," the Texas lawmaker said in a statement.

 

Peter Roskam, chairman of the House’s tax subcommittee, also criticized the decision, calling it "a miscarriage of justice."

Lawmakers had previously suggested that the Obama Department of Justice had declined to prosecute Lerner in 2015 because it was taking political cues from Obama. In 2014, their committee had voted to refer Lerner to the Justice

Department for prosecution for her role in the targeting scandal. Now Obama is gone, but the DOJ continues to protect his henchmen. The DOJ’s excuse –  used many times recently - that proving intent would be too difficult, seems flimsy.

Not to mention being a political black eye for an administration already struggling to appease Republicans in Congress.
 

Comments

Buckaroo Banzai bigkahuna Sat, 09/09/2017 - 18:05 Permalink

The federal income tax is in place to accomplish three goals:

1) to create demand for the shitty currency the federal reserve conjures out of thin air;
2) to use as a cudgel against political enemies; and
3) to use as a prosecutable crime of last resort. Remember, they got Al Capone in income tax evasion. Once that precedent was set, the income tax became an invaluable law enforcement tool.

Given (2), there was no way Sessions was going to prosecute Lerner. The whole idea of "selective enforcement of the law" being a crime is legally absurd when you think about it. The only proper solution here is to legislatively repeal the income tax laws.

I hate to say it, but Sessions is right here.

In reply to by bigkahuna

JelloBeyonce kill switch Sat, 09/09/2017 - 23:28 Permalink

Ever notice the similarities between pro sports & politics?Both are designed to merely entertain the mindless masses, and keep them distracted, while extracting greater quantities of wealth and redistributing it towards the ultra-wealthy.People just need a team, a strong political leader to follow, as the mindless masses cannot lead themselves. "Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.  As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters".-Ben Franklin-

In reply to by kill switch

Oldwood oldmanofthesee Sat, 09/09/2017 - 15:54 Permalink

Our government is at an all time low for confidence or credibility. Rather than doing what would normally be appropriate to reestablish this credibility by a thorough investigation holding culprits accountable, they have chosen the Holder axiom, that to illustrate in any way the foulness of this government, in its weak state, would surely destroy it.What they fail to recognize is that it/they are already dead as an institution. This is a zombie government intent only on consuming every remaining productive asset to keep its putrid corpse animated. It's urge is to "do something" and the only thing they can do is destroy.

In reply to by oldmanofthesee

rosiescenario Oldwood Sun, 09/10/2017 - 13:38 Permalink

Confirming that the DOJ is still just as bad as always:Fitton’s statement via Judicial Watch:

I have zero confidence that the Justice Department did an adequate review of the IRS scandal. In fact, we’re still fighting the Justice Department and the IRS for records about this very scandal. Today’s decision comes as no surprise considering that the FBI collaborated with the IRS and is unlikely to investigate or prosecute itself. President Trump should order a complete review of the whole issue. Meanwhile, we await accountability for IRS Commissioner Koskinen, who still serves and should be drummed out of office.

Judicial Watch also reported:

The FBI 302 documents confirm the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) 2013 report that said, “Senior IRS officials knew that agents were targeting conservative groups for special scrutiny as early as 2011.” Lerner did not reveal the targeting until May 2013, in response to a planted question at an American Bar Association conference.  The new documents reveal that then-acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller actually wrote Lerner’s response: “They used names like Tea Party or Patriots and they selected cases simply because the applications had those names in the title. That was wrong, that was absolutely incorrect, insensitive, and inappropriate.” Judicial Watch’s litigation forced the IRS first to say that emails belonging to Lerner were supposedly missing and later declare to the court that the emails were on IRS back-up systems.  Lerner was one of the top officials responsible for the IRS’ targeting of President Obama’s political opponents. Obama IRS Commissioner Koskinen was nearly impeached in September 2016 for misleading Congress on Lerner’s emails.

Documents released in July 2016 revealed the IRS knew of Tea Party targeting since 2011.The IRS released a list in 2016 of 426 Tea Party and conservative groups that were targeted during the Obama years. The Gateway Pundit also reported on another shocking abuse by Obama’s IRS uncovered by Judicial Watch. The Reason Alliance, which is a Massachusetts group that worships Satan, created an after school Satanic club for elementary schools. They received their tax exempt status by the IRS within 10 days of applying while Tea Party groups waited years. Pure evil.

I have zero confidence that the Justice Department did an adequate review of the IRS scandal. https://t.co/eHNvqNqFcQ @JudicialWatch — Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) September 8, 2017

 

 

In reply to by Oldwood

jmack Cognitive Dissonance Sat, 09/09/2017 - 16:52 Permalink

pardon me, but your comment engenders a certain amount of cognitive dissonance.  Democrats do not seem to have any problem in prosecuting republicans.  It is the republicans that seem to have the problem.   as one example,  8 years of obama and no special prosecutor, in fact, they have the chutzpah to claim his administration was scandal free. 10 days of Trump and we have a special prosecutor.....  you do the math.

In reply to by Cognitive Dissonance

jmack Cognitive Dissonance Sat, 09/09/2017 - 17:23 Permalink

so, tom delay, denny hastert, jack abramoff... vs what?  Jon Corzine?  Jeffery Epstein?     For every Trafficant or  William Jefferson, you have 10 William Jefferson Clintons.     Just watch this Menedez trial... oh, you cant, the media has an embargo on it.  ok, watch the Debbie Wasserman Schultz trial...lol, like that will ever happen.  They just donate to a few McCabe's wifes political campaigns, and poof, it goes away. Or they kill a Seth Rich and nip it in the bud.

In reply to by Cognitive Dissonance

Pure Evil jmack Sat, 09/09/2017 - 19:15 Permalink

If they were really two factions they'd be shooting at each other from their seats in House of Representatives and the Senate.Just like to different gangs in Shitcongo.Probably the only real difference between them is how to loot the Treasury and by how much.Yes, they're two factions for the entertainment of the dunderhead masses, but one criminal gang when it comes to looting the US taxpayer.

In reply to by jmack

Bill Brasky jmack Sun, 09/10/2017 - 09:40 Permalink

Republicans are the party of white America now, and the Democrats have become the minority party. Psychologically, it makes perfect sense that republicans act like cucks-- they want white-majority America to feel powerless and weak. I think this difference of character between the two parties is meant to embolden the anti-whites, and pacify the whites. Everything about our political system now, seems to be about preventing real Americans from taking our county back. 

In reply to by jmack

Theosebes Goodfellow Cognitive Dissonance Sat, 09/09/2017 - 18:10 Permalink

~"When will people begin to understand that whether Republican or Democrat, they simple have too much dirty laundry on each other to prosecute each other."~When will people begin to understand that the forces that elected Trump are no longer in the driver's seat at the WH? Since the sacking of Bannon we now have the Goldman Sachs White House, (again). GS has no bones to pick with Lerner or the IRS. As they would both tell you, "It's just business. Get over it."

In reply to by Cognitive Dissonance

lew1024 Cognitive Dissonance Sat, 09/09/2017 - 20:19 Permalink

Yes, they are all part of the Mutual Gonad Clutcher's Union, they all have each other by the balls.Add NSA to handle secure communications and CIA to provide the software to monitor criminal contacts, aka 'reliability of sources', and you produce the current world-side criminal cabal, with a local operating unit wherever any agency has budget, approval power, and a secrecy stamp.I like this view, an early version of a George Webb view :https://thinkpatriot.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/operation-soft-samson/

In reply to by Cognitive Dissonance

JelloBeyonce Cognitive Dissonance Sat, 09/09/2017 - 23:23 Permalink

Two highly diseased branches of the same infected tree.Democrat or Republican........the same ultra-wealthy gain ever more wealth, the same ultra-powerful gain ever more power. Meanwhile, as the mindless masses are busily distracted with nonsense, fighting each other over whether candidate brand A is better than candidate brand B, the common citizens (serfs) lose ever more ground to inflation, and continue to lose ever more freedoms, liberties, and true justice to the feudal Lords.Democrats and Republicans are like Coke & Pepsi....slightly different tastes, yet nothing but empty calories.  Whereas these soft drinks destroy the body, these political parties destroy the mind. Oh, and BTW, like Democrats and Republicans, Coke and Pepsi share the same largest corporate shareholders.  How's that for pseudo-competition?

In reply to by Cognitive Dissonance

Blue Steel 309 Cognitive Dissonance Sat, 09/09/2017 - 23:47 Permalink

Exactly. If "Republicans" truly wanted this bitch in jail (why try the lackeys and not the ring leaders?), she would be in jail. They are full of shit and its all theater for the proles.

The US Constitution set up the legislative branch to have supreme power, because it is democratic. The Executive branch has more flexibility, but is accountable to the Legislature. The Judicial branch was meant to be subordinate to both the other branches.

In reply to by Cognitive Dissonance