Judicial Watch has done it again. The governmental watchdog won another Freedom of Information Act lawsuit which allowed it to fill in another few tiles of the IRS scandal puzzle. The latest revelation thanks to Judicial Watch is that Lois Lerner was contacting the Department of Justice about criminal prosecution of tax exempt organizations as early as October 2010. That was just prior to the 2010 mid terms, when the tea party, possibly at its peak in political power led the GOP to huge victory especially in the house elections.
Judicial Watch is reporting:
As result of a court order, the DOJ last month produced only two pages of heavily redacted emails (832 pages were withheld in entirety) that show the Obama Justice Department initiated an October 8, 2010, meeting between the IRS and top criminal prosecutors at the DOJ Public Integrity Section and Election Crimes Division “concerning 501(c)(4) issues.” On September 29, 2010, a DOJ official (whose name is blacked out) emailed a staff assistant at the IRS (whose name is also redacted):
As we discussed this afternoon, we would like to invite Ms. Ingram [apparent reference to Sarah Hall Ingram former commissioner, IRS Tax Exempt and Government Entities] to meet with us concerning 501(c)(4) issues, and propose next Friday at 10:00 a.m. We are located in the Bond Building, 12th Floor, New York Avenue, NW, Thank you for your assistance.
The document shows that the unknown DOJ official setting up the meeting is with the Election Crimes Division of the Public Integrity Section of the DOJ’s Criminal Division. (Judicial Watch believes the redacted name of the DOJ official is Richard Pilger, Director of the Election Crimes Division.) The DOJ email setting up the IRS meeting is cc’d to the DOJ’s Public Integrity Section Chief, Jack Smith, and Principal Deputy Chief Raymond Hulser. The documents show that Ingram was not available but arranged for her deputy, Lois Lerner, then-Director of the IRS Exempt Organizations branch, to meet with the DOJ senior officials.
On September 30, 2010, the Election Crimes prosecutor emails Lerner:
Hi Lois-It’s been a long time, and you might not remember me, I’ve taken on [REDACTED] duties. I’m looking forward to meeting you, Can we chat in advance? I’m a [REDACTED]
Lerner responded on October 2, 2010:
Sure-that’s a good Idea [sic]. I have a meeting out of the office Monday morning, but will try you when I get back sometime early afternoon. You can try me at 202 283-8848.
The Justice Department has withheld in full at least 832 additional pages of documents, citing various “taxpayer privacy,” “deliberative privilege,” and other exemptions to keep the records secret.
What does this prove? It proves that Lois Lerner was trying to plan a way to target tax exempt organizations way before the 2012, heck before the 2010 elections. And while it doesn’t prove she was targeting only conservative tax exempts in 2010, her later behavior makes that a reasonable assumption.
Earlier this year, on April 16, 2014, Judicial Watch forced the IRS to release documents revealing that Lerner communicated with the DOJ in May of 2013 about whether it was possible to criminally prosecute targeted tax-exempt entities. The documents were obtained because of a court order in an October 2013 Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit filed against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Those documents contained an email exchange between Lerner and Nikole C. Flax, then-Chief of Staff to then-Acting IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller discussing plans to work with the DOJ to prosecute nonprofit groups that “lied” (Lerner’s quotation marks) about political activities. The exchange included an May 8, 2013, email by Lerner:
I got a call today from Richard Pilger Director Elections Crimes Branch at DOJ … He wanted to know who at IRS the DOJ folk s [sic] could talk to about Sen. Whitehouse idea at the hearing that DOJ could piece together false statement cases about applicants who “lied” on their 1024s –saying they weren’t planning on doing political activity, and then turning around and making large visible political expenditures. DOJ is feeling like it needs to respond, but want to talk to the right folks at IRS to see whether there are impediments from our side and what, if any damage this might do to IRS programs. I told him that sounded like we might need several folks from IRS…
Democratic Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse held a hearing on April 9, 2013, during which, “in questioning the witnesses from DOJ and IRS, Whitehouse asked why they have not prosecuted 501(c)(4) groups that have seemingly made false statements about their political activities
The House Oversight Committee followed up on these Judicial Watch disclosures with hearings and interviews of Pilger and his boss, DOJ Public Integrity Chief Jack Smith. Besides confirming the DOJ’s 2013 communications with Lerner, Pilger admitted to the Committee that DOJ officials met with Lerner in October 2010. (Department of Justice Public Integrity Section statistics show indictments and convictions of federal officials for public corruptions have dropped significantly under the Obama administration.)
According to congressional investigators, on October 5, another Lerner email shows the IRS had sent the FBI and DOJ a “1.1 million page database of information from 501(c)(4) tax exempt organizations” that contained confidential taxpayer information. (In October 2010, the IRS also stopped processing “potential political cases”).
At the very least these documents prove that the DOJ has been involved with Lerner possibly from the beginning of her scheme to target conservative-based tax exempt organization. Therefor the DOJ is too involved to investigate the IRS abuses, there is no independence.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. concluded with a much deserved bow, thanks to his organization we have been able to keep smoking out the evidence of the IRS/DOJ abuse.
“It is shameful how Establishment Washington has let slide by Obama’s abuse of the IRS and the Justice Department. Only as a result of Judicial Watch’s independent investigations did the American people learn about the IRS-DOJ prosecution discussions of Obama’s political enemies and how the IRS sent, in violation of law, confidential taxpayer information to the FBI and DOJ in 2010. Richard Nixon was impeached for less.”