With the latest email revelation concerning Lois Lerner, one of two things MUST now happen, if we are in fact living in a democracy where government is accountable to the people: Either the Justice Department must name a special prosecutor to focus on potential IRS abuses, or the House must appoint a select committee to investigate the matter. Or both.
The whiff of crime and coverup are now everywhere and undeniable except to those drunk in partisanship or blinded by delusion.
Here are the new facts.
On April 9 of last year, Lerner emailed IT specialist Maria Hooke, asking about whether Congress could gain access to an internal IRS chat system called the Office Communications Server.
Hooke said the agency should treat each chat message “as if it could/is being saved [somewhere], as it is possible for either party of the conversation to retain the information and have it turn up as part of the electronic search.”
“Perfect” Lerner replied.
Most damningly, Lerner also wrote:
I was cautioning folks about email and how we have had several occasions where Congress has asked for emails and there has been an electronic search for responsive emails — so we need to be cautious about what we say in emails.
The questioned begged here is what needed to be hidden from Congress, and and why did Lerner, and other “folks” she mentions, need to hide it?
Other fun facts which supplement the basic, known problem, which is that the IRS targeted Obama’s enemies in the Tea Party:
- Lerner’s emails for the period covering her targeting of Tea Party groups were lost in a computer hard drive “crash” during the summer of 2011. The hard drives of other IRS officials also crashed.
Lerner’s system went down just ten days after the Republican Ways and Means Committee chairman sent a letter to the IRS commissioner saying, “the IRS appears to have selectively targeted certain taxpayers who were engaged in political speech.”
Protestations that she tried to retrieve the hard drive data hold no weight. That’s exactly what I would do if I decided to pretend my hard drive crashed.
- The man appointed by President Obama to lead the IRS, John Koskinen, has donated more than $100,000 to Democratic causes over the last 30 years.
- The IRS, days before the 2010 election, shipped a 1.1 million page database about tax-exempt groups to the FBI. According to the Wall Street Journal:
Emails turned up by Darrell Issa’s House Oversight Committee show Department of Justice officials worked with Ms. Lerner to investigate groups critical of President Obama . . .
Ms. Lerner, by contrast, shipped a database of 12,000 nonprofit tax returns to the FBI, the investigating agency for Justice’s Criminal Division. The IRS, in other words, was inviting Justice to engage in a fishing expedition, and inviting people not even licensed to fish in that pond.
- There is evidence of collusion between Lerner and the Federal Election Committee.
If this were a Republican administration and the IRS was potentially being used in this matter, the press would be howling about a second Watergate.
The press won’t do its job. Either the Justice Department or Congress must.