Did Lois Lerner Seek IRS Audit Of Sen. Chuck Grassley?
Fox News runs with they headline that she did, and Rep. David Camp thinks she did, but, Grassley thinks she was targeting a Tea Party group. Some news orgs follow along with the Grassley targeted meme, others go with group targeted
Congressional investigators have uncovered emails showing ex-IRS official Lois Lerner targeted a sitting Republican senator for a proposed internal audit, a discovery one GOP lawmaker called “shocking.”
The emails were published late Wednesday by the House Ways and Means Committee and pertain to the woman at the heart of the scandal over IRS targeting of Tea Party groups.
The emails appear to show Lerner mistakenly received an invitation intended for Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, in 2012.
The invitation offered to pay for Grassley’s wife, and
“Looked like they were inappropriately offering to pay for his wife. Perhaps we should refer to Exam?” she wrote.
Her colleague, though, pushed back on the idea, saying an offer to pay for his wife is “not prohibited on its face.” There is no indication from the emails that Lerner pursued the issue any further.
Just the very indication that a top IRS official would so casually suggest and audit is blood chilling. Mark Stein wrote of the IRS “The IRS is its own law enforcement agency: judge, jury and executioner. If it decides you’ve done something wrong, it garnishes your wages, takes out a lien on your house, or freezes your kid’s bank account – all without due process.”
“We have seen a lot of unbelievable things in this investigation, but the fact that Lois Lerner attempted to initiate an apparently baseless IRS examination against a sitting Republican United States Senator is shocking,” Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., said in a statement.
but, Grassley seems to think it is the group that would be “referred to exam”
Grassley said in a statement that this kind of incident fuels concerns people have about “political targeting” at the highest levels. “It’s very troubling that a simple clerical mix-up could get a taxpayer immediately referred for an IRS exam without any due diligence from agency officials,” the senator said.
Reading the emails (the link in the first excerpt), Lerner doesn’t say who would be audited. The reply states that if an audit occurred, it would need to be on Grassley, because the income would be to Grassley, as it would be part of a “speaking fee”, and suggests that Matthew Guiliano is “not sure we should send to exam”.
The IRS, in response to the publication of the emails, said in a statement that it could not comment on “any specific situation” due to taxpayer confidentiality issues.
Except for all those Tea Party records sent to the FBI, as well as released to private Democrat supporting groups, one of which has resulted in a $50k settlement.
But the agency added: “As a general matter, the IRS has checks and balances in place to ensure the fairness and integrity of the audit process. Audits cannot be initiated solely by personal requests or suggestions by any one individual inside the IRS.”
Yet, the very notion that Lerner could be so cavalier in suggesting an audit is chilling. And, did they have the same checks in place regarding the stonewalling of applications for Tea Party groups to receive 503(c)(4) status?