Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, released a report on Tuesday that reiterates the committee's desire to hold the IRS Exempt Organizations head, Lois Lerner, in contempt for refusing to testify thereby preventing the panel from moving forward with its investigation.
"Chairman Issa and the Republican congressmen better not hold their breath: they will learn nothing from Lerner as long as the focus by the news media is on the tiffs between Republicans and the Obama administration-defending Democrats," said political strategist Mike Baker.
"If anything the infighting on the panel of lawmakers allows the news media's Obama sycophants to digress to their hearts' content. When will the GOP learn how to handle the news people?" Baker added.
When Lerner appeared before Issa's committee last week, she responded to each and every question by citing the Fifth Amendment, refusing to answer any and all questions posed by Issa or other committee members.
As a result of Lerner's refusal to testify, the Oversight Committee released its report which, while not containing her testimony, does include emails, remarks she's made to reporters, and her relationships with IRS agents involved in extraordinarily unusual scrutinizing of tax-exempt status applications submitted by conservative groups that use the words "Tea Party" or "Patriots" within the names of their organizations.
The 141-page report alleges that Lerner purposely setup stonewalls to prevent conservative or libertarian groups from garnering the "501(c)(4)" tax-exempt approval.
The released report states:
"Lerner believed the Executive Branch needed to take steps to undermine the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. A senior advisor to Lerner e-mailed her an article about allegations that unknown conservative donors were influencing U.S. Senate races. The article explained how outside money was making it increasingly difficult for Democrats to remain in the majority in the Senate. Lerner replied: “Perhaps the FEC will save the day.”
According to Issa's statement in the report:
"In the wake of Ms. Lerner's refusal to testify and answer questions, this report offers detailed evidence about steps she took to crack down on organizations that exercised their constitutional rights to free political speech
"She involved herself in efforts to apply unprecedented scrutiny to new applicants, existing organizations, and to write new rules after President Obama and other prominent Democrats expressed outrage at the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision."
Within the report, Issa quoted a letter that was sent to Lerner by the committee:
"Moreover, despite repeated questions from the Committee over a year ago and despite your intimate knowledge of the situation, you failed to inform the Committee of IRS’s plan, developed in early 2010, to single out conservative groups and how that plan changed over time. You also failed to inform the Committee that IRS launched its own internal review of this matter in late March 2012, or that the internal review was completed on May 3, 2012, finding significant problems in the review process and a substantial bias against conservative groups. At no point did you or anyone else at IRS inform Congress of the results of these findings."