Obama DOJ Closes Faux Investigation of IRS Targeting Scandal – No Criminal Charges
President Obama’s Justice Department has just announced that it is closing the investigation into the IRS targeting scandal and that Lois Lerner will not face any criminal charges for her actions.
This faux investigation, conducted by one of President Obama’s top donors, was never going to lead to the truth. For months, we’ve known that the FBI dismissed the idea of criminal charges – prejudging the case before even gathering the facts.
It’s an outrage – a mockery of justice.
There was never any semblance of independence in this supposed investigation. It was a sham from the start. The very Justice Department that was supposedly investigating the targeting scandal was implicated in that very scandal by the very person who was at the center of the scandal – former top IRS official Lois Lerner.
It was Lois Lerner’s emails – recovered not through any DOJ investigation but from congressional probes and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests – that exposed the fact that Lerner was colluding with the Obama Administration’s Justice Department to “piece together” criminal charges against the very same conservative groups who her IRS division was targeting.
It was Lois Lerner and her closes advisors who ordered “tea party” cases be forwarded to Washington, DC and that they be sent off to the IRS Chief Counsel’s office. Thereafter, approval of conservative groups applying for tax exempt status ceased almost completely – for years – as these groups began receiving abusive and intrusive demands for information from the IRS.
These demands violated the Constitution and longstanding case law.
In spite of all of this, the Justice Department is closing its entire investigation. As CNN reports:
There will be no charges against former IRS official Lois Lerner or anyone else at the agency, the Justice Department said in a letter.
The probe found "substantial evidence of mismanagement, poor judgment and institutional inertia leading to the belief by many tax-exempt applicants that the IRS targeted them based on their political viewpoints. But poor management is not a crime."
"We found no evidence that any IRS official acted based on political, discriminatory, corrupt, or other inappropriate motives that would support a criminal prosecution," Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik said in the letter. "We also found no evidence that any official involved in the handling of tax-exempt applications or IRS leadership attempted to obstruct justice. Based on the evidence developed in this investigation and the recommendation of experienced career prosecutors and supervising attorneys at the department, we are closing our investigation and will not seek any criminal charges."
No evidence? This is absurd.
Congressional probes have found ample evidence of wrongdoing. As the House Ways and Means Committee noted in a letter to the Justice Department a year and a half ago:
- “Lerner used her position to improperly influence agency action against only conservative organizations, denying these groups due process and equal protection rights under the law. She showed extreme bias and prejudice towards conservative groups. The letter lays out evidence on how Lerner targeted conservative organization Crossroads GPS as well as other right-leaning groups, while turning a blind eye to similarly-organized liberal groups, like Priorities USA.
- “Lerner impeded official investigations by providing misleading statements in response to questions from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).
- “Lerner risked exposing, and may actually have disclosed, confidential taxpayer information, in apparent violation of Internal Revenue Code section 6103 by using her personal email to conduct official business.”
The fact remains that conservatives were targeted by the IRS. They were targeted because of their political beliefs – because their views differed with those of the Administration. As the Inspector General’s report put it, they were targeted if “[s]tatements in the case file criticize how the country is being run.”
The Obama Administration’s Justice Department found “no evidence that any IRS official acted based on . . . inappropriate motives.” Yet, in her initial admission of guilt and faux apology in answer to a planted question at an American Bar Association meeting, Lois Lerner herself admitted:
Instead of referring to the cases as advocacy cases, they actually used case names on this list. 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 . . . .
Yet to the Justice Department, there is “no evidence.” Or as President Obama proclaimed – while the “investigation” was still ongoing – there was “not even a smidgen of corruption.” The corruption is in the investigation: led by a major Obama donor, prematurely dismissed by the FBI, and prejudged the President. Now more than ever it is clear that a truly impartial investigation is needed. We once again call for a Special Counsel – an independent investigation into the truth. But it is equally clear that the only way we will ever get to the bottom of this scandal is through the courts. We continue representing dozens of conservative groups in multiple cases demanding the truth and accountability in federal court.
We’re making significant progress. In our FOIA case, a federal judge has already forced the IRS to turn over key documents that could show collusion between some Members of Congress on the left and IRS officials. Our other federal case proceeds on appeal after a key ruling in a related case that could dramatically impact the case and provide justice for those who were targeted. Of the 38 clients we currently represent, two are still awaiting a response from the IRS on their applications - Albuquerque Tea Party is approaching six years in December and Unite in Action has been waiting for more than three years. The targeting has not stopped and neither will we in our pursuit of justice.
We will not give up. We will not stop pressing for the truth. Justice will be served. Americans should never have to fear that the IRS or any other branch of the bureaucracy will target them for their beliefs.