IRS threatened with subpoena

The House’s top tax writer threatened Monday to subpoena the Internal Revenue Service for emails from Lois Lerner, the former official at the center of the agency's targeting controversy.

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Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) said it has been almost eight months since he requested copies of all of Lerner’s emails from 2009 onward.

In a letter to John Koskinen, the IRS commissioner, Camp said the agency has only handed over messages that related to whether groups received tax-exempt status, when Lerner’s role in the “examinations, appeals and rulemaking processes” are also relevant.

“If the IRS does not take immediate steps to provide the committee with documents responsive to this request, I will consider using the compulsory process to compel them,” Camp wrote.

The letter comes the same week that the House is expected to vote on a bill introduced by Camp that would delay new IRS rules released in the wake of the targeting controversy.

Lerner apologized in May for the extra scrutiny the agency gave to groups seeking 501(c)(4) status, then invoked her Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination before the House Oversight Committee. Lerner, who retired in September, originally blamed the targeting on IRS employees in Cincinnati.

Camp and other GOP lawmakers have for months complained the IRS was slow to deliver documents, including at a recent Ways and Means subcommittee hearing, where Rep. Charles Boustany Jr. (R-La.) specifically pressed Koskinen about the Lerner emails.

Koskinen told the panel the IRS had already delivered more than 500,000 pages of documents and would continue to work with Congress on its various inquiries.

“Nobody wants this investigation to be completed sooner than I do,” Koskinen said.