Recently released FBI interviews show the Department of Justice’s failure to prosecute the Tea Party-targeting Internal Revenue Service (IRS) officials was “patently ridiculous,” Rep. Jim Jordan said.
IRS officials across the chain of command knew for years that it was “extraordinarily inappropriate and dangerous” to send Tea Party tax exemption applications into a “black hole,” FBI interviews recently released by Judicial watch show.
IRS officials “suggested there was nothing unusual going on … but they stopped granting the tax exempt status to most conservative outlets,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“There’s a powerful case,” he continued. “There were false statements made under oath.”
Then-IRS Commissioner Douglas Schulman, for example, resigned soon after he denied the targeting before a congressional committee and just before the scandal came to light.
One IRS official – whose name was redacted – saw the internal document that ordered the targeting and “his impression was that they should not be using the label ‘Tea Party,’” FBI interviews show.
The FBI also didn’t catch the IRS official who wrote that document.
“It seems liked an incurious pro forma investigation,” Fitton said.
One tax exempt case in March or April 2011 “seemed to be pulled because of the applicant’s political affiliation and screening is not supposed to occur that way,” an unidentified IRS senior tax law specialist noted. “When organizations’ applications are pulled, you have to stay away from their political affiliations and your own.”
“She has been taught from day one by her manager that you need to avoid personal views and look at legal criteria,” FBI documents show. “She wanted to alert the managers about the way the cases were being pulled.”
The issue was passed along from their from one redacted official to another before reaching senior IRS manager Lois Lerner by June or July 2011.
Lerner went “ballistic” and “found it extraordinarily inappropriate and dangerous to use names as a way to refer to and select cases,” FBI documents show. She ordered the practice to stop, but the discrimination continued until after President Barack Obama’s successful 2012 reelection campaign.
The FBI “documents show just how patently ridiculous it is that the Obama Justice Department did not pursue charges against Lois Lerner for her actions at the IRS,” House Freedom Caucus Chairman and Ohio Republican Jordan told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “This is exactly why so many Americans feel there are two sets of rules in this country – one for ‘we, the people’ and one for the politically connected. The American people deserve justice from their Justice Department.”
Lerner could “apologize for under-managing,” then-IRS Commissioner Steven Miller said in an email obtained by the FBI.
“This was a joke, but it was how Miller felt about what Lerner did during the timeframe of these cases,” documents show. “He felt the issue was with how the cases were managed, not how they were worked.”
Similarly, top IRS official Nikole Flax “believes Lerner under-managed because cases should not sit for two years without a system where a red flag goes up when cases sit for so long,” documents show. “Also, Lerner should have raised the issue earlier.”
Another senior IRS official, Nancy Marks, added: “there was a lack of management oversight on these cases.”
Lerner wasn’t fired or prosecuted for allowing the discrimination to continue, but rather retired with her pension and raked in a $129,300 bonus.
“But poor management is not a crime,” Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik said, CNN reported.
Regardless, Miller and Lerner both initially blamed “low-level employees” for the targeting, FBI documents show. Miller, in fact, called the Cincinnati IRS officials who handled the tax exemption cases “maroons” – his humorous way of saying “morons.”
Meanwhile, “Cincinnati had asked for help from DC repeatedly and not received it for over two years …” Marks told Miller in May 2012, FBI documents show.
Neither the IRS nor the FBI returned requests for comment.
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