New revelations out this week show that disgraced former IRS official Lois Lerner was a key player in the Justice Department’s foiled scheme: “tax-exempt groups engaging in politics.”
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has discovered, via an interview with Richard Pilger (Head of the Department of Justice’s Election Crimes Branch), that Lois Lerner had been involved in targeting conservative non-profits since October of 2010, just months after the Citizens United v. FEC decision was handed down. This new evidence reveals Lerner and the IRS were involved in targeting conservative groups a full three years prior to 2013, which is the year the House Oversight Committee initially thought the targeting may have begun. The meeting was scheduled under the direction of Public Integrity Section Chief Jack Smith, whom the Oversight Committee is now actively seeking an on-the-record interview with.
The testimony given by Richard Pilger is very damning and shows how the Obama Administration instituted Nixonian tactics against conservative groups. Mr. Pilger revealed that the DOJ perceived the Supreme Court’s decision on Citizens United v. FEC to be problematic, and so, back in 2010, they immediately sought Lois Lerner’s help to “fix” that problem (a.k.a. target conservative non-profit organizations). Adding fuel to the fire, Mr. Pilger also revealed that just days after meeting with the DOJ, Lerner spoke at a Duke University event in which she shamed the Supreme Court’s decision:
What happened last year in the Supreme Court – the law kept getting chipped away, chipped away in the federal election arena. The Supreme Court dealt a huge blow, overturning a 100-year old precedent that basically corporations couldn’t give directly to political campaigns. And everyone is up in arms because they don’t like it. […] They want the IRS to fix the problem […] So everybody is screaming at us right now: “Fix it now before the election. Can’t you see how much these people are spending?” I won’t know until I look at their 990s next year whether they have done more than their primary activity as political or not.
It is clear by Lois Lerner’s speech at Duke University that she was an active participant in the Obama Administration’s plan to go after conservative organizations in the wake of the Citizens United decision. The House Oversight Committee must keep digging and get to the bottom of this abhorrent overreach of government. Citizens United has been calling on Eric Holder for over a year now to appoint a Special Counsel in order to investigate the IRS’ targeting of conservative non-profits, and we will continue to do our part to see that the truth is uncovered.
The Obama Administration saw the Citizens United case as a threat to their hold on power. The targeting of opposing political groups may be fair game in Chicago-style politics, but in the rest of the country it is simply un-American. Using the IRS to sidestep the law of the land is not only unconstitutional but illegal. Americans need to know who in the Obama Administration orchestrated the targeting of conservative groups and how high up it leads.