But now National Review has uncovered documentation proving Lerner was up to her neck in the operation, over nine months after she claims she learned about it:
Lerner, the director of the IRS exempt organizations office in Washington, D.C., signed cover letters to 15 conservative organizations currently represented by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) between in March and April of 2012. The letters, such as this one sent to the Ohio Liberty Council on March 16, 2012, informed the groups applying for tax-exempt status that the IRS was “unable to make a final determination on your exempt status without additional information,” and included a list of detailed questions of the kind that a Treasury inspector general’s audit found to be inappropriate. Some of the groups to which Lerner sent letters are still awaiting approval.
I guess she could try the “What am I signing, Radar?” mutation of the Incompetence Defense, and claim this stuff was shoved under her nose by more of those rogue low-level employees, who tricked her into signing it without reading it. I’ve been wondering if we might hear that one from Attorney General Eric Holder, too.
The intimidation factor of a top-ranking IRS official’s signature on these letters is huge:
“One thing is clear: this correspondence shows [Lerner’s] direct involvement in the scheme,” wrote Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice. “Further, sending a letter from the top person in the IRS Exempt Organization division to a small Tea Party group also underscores the intimidation used in this targeting ploy.”
Sekulow’s organization has received complaints from conservative organizations who say this abusive behavior continued long after IRS officials claim it was halted, in May 2012.
No wonder Lois Lerner took the Fifth Amendment, instead of testifying! There’s so much she desperately needs to not talk about.
Issa needs to bring her back and ask her about this. I've even heard a judge could force her to testify and jail her if she refuses.
Oh, and Lerner was put on administrative leave...with pay. Only in the federal government can they get away with the sleazy garbage that the Enron folks got put in jail for.