You don’t hear much about it in the liberal branch of mainstream media – that is, most of it – but the investigation into the IRS targeting of conservative groups is continuing, and progress is being made.
The Wall Street Journal today reports that the House Ways and Means Committee has dug up emails between Lois Lerner – who took the Fifth, and possibly for good reason – and her staff that raise doubts about claims this was a non-political rogue operation done out of Cincinnati:
In a February 2011 email, Ms. Lerner advised her staff—including then Exempt Organizations Technical Manager Michael Seto and then Rulings and Agreements director Holly Paz—that a Tea Party matter is “very dangerous,” and is something “Counsel and [Lerner adviser] Judy Kindell need to be in on.” Ms. Lerner adds, “Cincy should probably NOT have these cases.”
Earlier this summer, IRS lawyer Carter Hull, who oversaw the review of many Tea Party cases and questionnaires, testified that his oversight began in April 2010. Tea party cases under review are “being supervised by Chip Hull at each step,” Ms. Paz wrote to Ms. Lerner in a February 2011 email. “He reviews info from TPs, correspondence to TPs etc. No decisions are going out of Cincy until we go all the way through the process with the c3 and c4 cases here.” TP stands for Tea Party, and she means 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) nonprofit groups.
Lerner, surprise surprise, appears to be a Democrat, as you will see in the excerpt below. What’s disturbing is that she casually shares this information with a staffer – they are supposed to be working together as nonpartisans – under the clear assumption that her aide is a Democrat too.
On July 10, 2012 then Lerner-adviser Sharon Light emailed Ms. Lerner a National Public Radio story on how outside money was making it hard for Democrats to hold their Senate majority.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee had complained to the Federal Election Commission that conservative groups like Crossroads GPS and Americans for Prosperity should be treated as political committees, rather than 501(c)(4)s, which are tax-exempt social welfare groups that do not have to disclose their donors.
“Perhaps the FEC will save the day,” Ms. Lerner wrote back later that morning.
Were this the Bush administration, of course, the press, despite its hobbled financial state, would be all over the story and steaming with outrage. It would be unearthing this stuff before the lumbering Congressional committee could find it.
But the press would rather spin its wheels writing about a presidential contest that won’t occur for another three years than investigate the Sage from Hawaii who came to Washington to do good.