by WorldTribune Staff, September 11, 2017
The FBI’s damage-control role discouraged the Justice Department from prosecuting former IRS official Lois Lerner in the tax agency’s targeting of conservative groups, a watchdog group said.
The decision not to reopen the Lerner investigation “comes as no surprise considering that the FBI collaborated with the IRS and is unlikely to investigate or prosecute itself,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said.
Judicial Watch released 294 pages of FBI “302” documents revealing top Washington IRS officials, including Lois Lerner and Holly Paz, knew the agency was specifically targeting “Tea Party” and other conservative organizations two full years before disclosing it to Congress and the public.
Related: Report: As FBI director, Mueller declined to act on a number of major scandals, Aug. 8, 2017
An FBI 302 document contains detailed narratives of FBI agent investigations. The Obama Justice Department and FBI investigations into the Obama IRS scandal resulted in no criminal charges.
“I have zero confidence that the Justice Department did an adequate review of the IRS scandal,” Fitton said. “In fact, we’re still fighting the Justice Department and the IRS for records about this very scandal. 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.”
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 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.”
The Justice Department said the decision on Lerner could be revisited if new information is developed.
Republicans on Capitol Hill criticized the decision.
“It sends the message that the same legal, ethical, and Constitutional standards we all live by do not apply to Washington political appointees – who will now have the green light to target Americans for their political beliefs and mislead investigators without ever being held accountable for their lawlessness,” said Rep. Kevin Brady, Texas Republican and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
“The decision not to prosecute Lois Lerner is a miscarriage of justice,” said Rep. Peter Roskam, Illinois Republican.