- In 1996 Lois Lerner, the IRS official at the center of the harassment of Tea Party groups seeking tax exempt status, was head of the enforcement division of the Federal Elections Commission(FEC). That year Al Salvi was the Republican nominee for the US Senate from Illinois, his Democrat opponent was then congressman Dick Durbin.
During the final weeks of the campaign Salvi loaned himself over a million dollars to buy ads in the Chicago media market. This in turn prompted the Democrat party's campaign arms to file complaints with the FEC and in kind the FEC, specifically Lois Lerner, filed charges against Al Salvi.
That is when Mr. Salvi contends Lois Lerner made him the following offer, "Promise me you will never run for office again, and we'll drop this case."
Al Salvi refused that offer and would fight the FEC complaint against him for several more years before a Judge tossed out the complaint. Al Salvi would also run unsuccessfully for Secretary of State in Illinois in 1998.
Illinois Review has more:
The IRS scandal may have its roots in Illinois politics. Specifically, the 1996 U.S. Senate race between then-Democrat Congressman Dick Durbin and conservative Republican State Rep. Al Salvi.
More than a decade before his 2010 letter to IRS officials urging the agency to target conservative organizations, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin's political career crossed paths with Ms. Lerner when she was head of the Enforcement Division of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), and directly involved in the 1996 Illinois U.S. Senate race.
Soon after the IRS story broke, Al Salvi told Illinois Review that it was IRS official Lois Lerner who represented the FEC in a Democrat complaint against him. According to Salvi, Lerner was, without question, politically motivated, and went so far as to make him an offer: "Promise me you will never run for office again, and we'll drop this case."
Salvi declined her offer, and ran for Illinois Secretary of State in 1998.