A House committee voted Thursday to hold Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress, as Republicans escalated their bid to “get to the bottom” of the former IRS official’s role in the political targeting scandal.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted 21-12 to hold Lerner in contempt. The party-line vote followed hours of heated debate on the committee.
The contempt measure heads next to the House floor. House Speaker John Boehner predicted earlier this week that unless Lerner agrees to cooperate, the full House will support contempt — from there, the case would likely head to the courts.
As we learn more about the activities of the IRS beginning, at least, in 2010 it becomes clear that Lerner was leading a coordinated effort to deny tax-exempt status to conservative groups. From the Wall Street Journal:
The most troubling new evidence are documents showing that Ms. Lerner actively corresponded with liberal campaign-finance groups Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center, which had asked the IRS to investigate if conservative groups including Crossroads GPS were violating their tax-exempt status. After personally meeting with the two liberal outfits, Ms. Lerner contacted the director of the Exempt Organizations Examinations Unit in Dallas to ask why Crossroads had not been audited.
Ways and Means also discloses that in January 2013 Ms. Lerner asked her staff to examine five conservative groups that the website ProPublica had called “controversial dark money groups,” including Americans for Responsible Leadership, Freedom Path, Rightchange.com, America is Not Stupid, and A Better America. Four of those five groups ultimately got the IRS deluxe scrutiny treatment and three were audited.
The new documents also suggest that Ms. Lerner was evasive in her answers when Treasury’s Inspector General (Tigta) began investigating complaints of conservative targeting, She told Tigta she didn’t learn about the use of tea-party keywords to choose groups for extra review until June 2011, but emails show Ms. Lerner was told about the tea-party cases under review in April and May 2010, only weeks after the process started.
Now we know this coordination was not limited with left-wing political groups. It is now documented that Lerner shared confidential taxpayer information with the staff of the odious Elijah Cummings in order to further Democrat efforts to suppress attempts by conservatives to organize politically.
Perhaps now that Lerner is looking at real sanctions in addition to ruinous legal fees she will decide to be more candid with the House of Representatives on how this scheme to enlist the IRS as a field organization of the Obama regime’s political operation came to be and where her orders came from.