Lois Lerner, the former Internal Revenue Service official who became America’s poster child for corruption and conspiracy will be investigated by the Justice Department it was reported Wednesday. Despite loud protests that Attorney General Eric Holder is incapable of investigating his own people, that is the decision after a two-hour closed-door meeting of the House committee investigating.
According to the House Ways and Means Committee, Lois Lerner engaged in an "aggressive and improper pursuit" of Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, a nonprofit political group advised by Republican Karl Rove.
Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican, said "This is so important that the public has a right to know," Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican, told reporters after the party-line vote to send the letter. "What do we have as Americans if we don’t have our constitutional rights?"
Under section 501(c)(4) of the U.S. tax code, groups such as Karl Rove’s Crossroads Policy Grassroots Strategies must be operated exclusively for social welfare. IRS rules say they can’t make politics their primary purpose.
Crossroads had first applied for nonprofit status in September 2010. They told the IRS their involvement in politics would be “limited.” As is allowed under the law, the group has operated under 501(c)(4) while its application is pending.
IRS documents released today indicated the IRS was working on a letter denying Crossroads tax-exempt status until the agency was exposed for its scrutiny of the tea party groups back in May, 2013.
Today marked a distinct change in investigation policy which had focused on treatment of smaller tea party groups. With the disclosure of the Crossroads investigation, that policy is dramatically altered.
What has critics of handing over the investigation of the IRS to Holder’s Justice Department is the attorney generals’ history in such situations. Basically nothing has come of the “Fast and Furious” or Benghazi investigations which might have hurt his old friend Barack Obama. Now, Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department will decide whether to prosecute Lerner.
It should be noted the Justice Department has already been investigating the IRS controversy. No charges have been filed.
Finally, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will vote Thursday whether Lerner should be held in contempt of Congress for refusing to answer lawmakers’ questions. The question is why have so many months passed and millions of taxpayer dollars waiting for the inevitable?
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