IRS’s Lerner Had History of Harassment, Inappropriate Religious Inquiries at FEC (+videos)

Photo Credit: AP Photo/J. Scott ApplewhiteBy Mark Hemingway. Perhaps no other IRS official is more intimately associated with the tax agency’s growing scandal than Lois Lerner, director of the IRS’s Exempt Organizations Division. Since admitting the IRS harassed hundreds of conservative and Tea Party groups for over two years, Lerner has been criticized for a number of untruths—including the revelation that she apparently lied about planting a question at an American Bar Association conference where she first publicly acknowledged IRS misconduct…

[P]rior to joining the IRS, Lerner’s tenure as head of the Enforcement Office at the Federal Election Commission (FEC) was marked by what appears to be politically motivated harassment of conservative groups.

Lerner was appointed head of the FEC’s enforcement division in 1986 and stayed in that position until 2001. In the late 1990s, the FEC launched an onerous investigation of the Christian Coalition, ultimately costing the organization hundreds of thousands of dollars and countless hours in lost work. The investigation was notable because the FEC alleged that the Christian Coalition was coordinating issue advocacy expenditures with a number of candidates for office. Aside from lacking proof this was happening, it was an open question whether the FEC had the authority to bring these charges.

James Bopp Jr., who was lead counsel for the Christian Coalition at the time, tells THE WEEKLY STANDARD the Christian Coalition investigation was egregious and uncalled for. “We felt we were being singled out, because when you handle a case with 81 depositions you have a pretty good argument you’re getting special treatment. Eighty-one depositions! Eighty-one! From Ralph Reed’s former part-time secretary to George H.W. Bush. It was mind blowing,” he said.

Read more from this story HERE.


Lois Lerner: ‘I have not done anything wrong’ at IRS

By Susan Ferrechio. The head of the Internal Revenue Service division that targeted conservative groups told a congressional committee Wednesday that she did nothing wrong and is not to blame for the wrongdoing, but then invoked her Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination and refused to answer lawmakers’ questions.

Lois Lerner was a witness lawmakers hoped would help finally answer the fundamental questions about who authorized the IRS to target the Tea Party and other conservative groups opposed to President Obama ahead of last year’s election.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., dismissed Lerner from the hearing after she invoked the Fifth Amendment. He said he may recall Lerner to testify at a future hearing, saying she may have waived her Fifth Amendment rights when she first delivered an opening statement proclaiming her innocence. To force Lerner to return and testify, Issa refused to adjourn the hearing at the end of the day, instead gaveling it into recess.

“I am looking into the possibility of recalling her,” Issa said. Read more from this story HERE.


Rep. Gowdy Grills Former IRS Commissioner