When the IRS scandal first broke, the administration attributed it to rogue agents in the Cincinnati office. Jay Sekulow’s op-ed on the Lerner emails demolishes that storyline:
Last week, while the world’s eyes were fixed upon the Obama administration’s fumbled response to the Syria crisis, new documents emerged in the allegedly “phony” IRS scandal.
These documents, emails from Lois Lerner, then Director of Exempt Organizations at the IRS, were short, but highly damaging to the IRS’s persistent (and pernicious) spin.
The first email, a February 1, 2011, message to, among others, Obama donor and fellow IRS executive Holly Paz, proclaims: “Tea Party matter very dangerous. This could be the vehicle to go to court on the issue over whether Citizen’s United overturning the ban on corporate spending applies to tax exempt rules…Cincy should probably NOT have these cases – Holly please see what they have please [sic].”
That Lerner said that Cincinnati shouldn’t deal with TEA Party cases raises thousands of red flags. It’s probably why she attempted to plead the Fifth. First, Ms. Lerner testified that the IRS scandal was about rogue agents in Cincinnati, a fiction that didn’t convince anyone. Next, these emails arrived courtesy of the IG of the IRS. They clearly prove Washington was involved in this scandal up to its eyeballs. Ms. Lerner’s emails necessarily means Cincinnati wasn’t involved in mothballing TEA Party organizations’ tax exempt status.
It doesn’t get better for Ms. Lerner after that:
First, Lois Lerner unquestionably misled the public when she stated in her initial, May 10, 2013, apology for IRS targeting that the scandal centered around “our line people in Cincinnati.” In reality, this was and is a Washington scandal, with senior IRS officials at the epicenter.
Thanks to the Lerner emails, we know definitively that Washington handled things, not “line people in Cincinnati.” We know that Ms. Lerner thought that TEA Party organizations were “very dangerous.” That’s a statement indicating her political beliefs. This statement didn’t discuss IRS policy on organizations’ tax exempt applications. That calls into question Daniel Werfel’s sham investigation that concluded that the IRS targeting of TEA Party organizations’ applications wasn’t politically motivated.
What the Lerner emails indicate is that the targeting of TEA Party applications was politicized by the IRS. In fact, they were politicized by Lerner herself:
Second, key leaders at the IRS are highly partisan. Lerner’s May statement contains this howler: “They didn’t do this because of any political bias. They did this because they were working together.”
Ms. Lerner shouldn’t be allowed to return to the IRS in any capacity because she’s a political animal working in a position that requires nonpartisanship. In short, she’s utterly unqualified for the job.