Jim Jordan: Special Counsel Jack Smith Tried to Find Ways to Target Conservatives During Obama-IRS Scandal

Prosecutor Jack Smith waits for the start of the court session of Kadri Veseli's initial a
Robin van Lonkhuijsen/Pool Photo via AP

House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-OH) said on Sunday that Special Counsel Jack Smith tried to find ways to target conservative organizations during the Obama era-IRS scandal.

Jordan said on Fox Business on Sunday that he and Rep. Darrell Issa’s (R-CA) 2014 report looking into the IRS’s targeting of conservative tax-exempt organizations has potentially troubling context for the Special Counsel investigation into former President Donald Trump.

The interview follows Attorney General Merrick Garland appointing Jack Smith to serve as special counsel to investigate alleged wrongdoing by former President Donald Trump after the FBI raided Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) speaks during a news conference following a weekly House Republican caucus conference meeting at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 19, 2022 in Washington, DC. Ahead of U.S. President Joe Biden’s one year anniversary as president, members of the House Republican leadership and the GOP Doctors Caucus outlined what they see as the shortfalls of the administration, including their actions to combat COVID-19, the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the state of the economy. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) speaks at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 19, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

He asked rhetorically, “Guess who was the lead person at the Justice Department looking for ways to target and prosecute the very people looking into who Lois Lerner went after? Jack Smith, the guy Merrick Garland just named as special counsel to go after President Trump.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland and Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco arrive to deliver remarks at the U.S. Justice Department on November 18, 2022 in Washington, DC. Garland announced he will appoint a special counsel to oversee the Justice Department’s investigation into former President Donald Trump and his handling of classified documents and actions before the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol Building. Garland’s pick to oversee the special counsel is Jack Smith, an international criminal court prosecutor. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Indeed, in September 2010 — Smith, the then-chief of the Justice Department’s public integrity section, criminal division — emailed his senior leadership regarding a New York Times article regarding conservative organizations:

Check out [the] article on front page of ny times [sic] regarding misuse of non-profits for indirectly funding campaigns. This seems egregious to me – could we ever charge a [18 U.S.C. §] 371 conspiracy to violate laws of the USA for misuse of such non profits to get around existing campaign finance laws + limits? I know 501s are legal but if they are knowingly using them beyond what they are allowed to use them for (and we could prove that factually)? IRS Commissioner sarah ingram [sic] oversees these groups. Let’s discuss tomorrow but maybe we should try to set up a meeting this week. [Emphasis added]

The House Republican report noted that Smith then proceeded to convene meetings on a “possible 501/campaign finance investigation”:

Smith convened meetings on a “possible 501/campaign finance investigation.”801 At Smith’s direction, Pilger arranged a meeting with Lerner and the IRS to discuss the “evolving legal landscape” of campaign-finance law after the Citizens United decision.802 Pilger intended to engage with Lerner about being “more vigilant to the opportunities from more crime in the . . . 501(c)(4) area.”803 He also sought to better understand the “practicalities” of criminally enforcing non-profit political speech, such as whether the IRS could review donor lists of 501(c)(4) organizations for potential violations of campaign-finance law.804 Similarly, the IRS sought to “walk [the Justice Department] through the basic civil rules within [the IRS’s] jurisdiction and find out what if anything else they are looking for. . . . These are not tax people so [Lerner] may also take [IRS employee] Joe Urban to do clear perimeters about tax info should they want to do any 6103 fishing (as opposed to public record 6104 info).

During an October 2010 meeting, the Public Integrity section’s attorneys, of which Smith was the chief of the section, “expressed concern that certain 501(c) organizations [conservative organizations] are actually political committees ‘posing’ as if they are not subject to FEC law,” and thus could be subject to “criminal liability.”

Trump said last week that he would not take partake in the special counsel investigation.

Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.


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