By Bernie Becker - 07/30/14 07:33 PM EDT
Former IRS official Lois Lerner cursed conservatives in emails released on Wednesday, leading House Republicans to intensify their push for criminal charges.
Lerner, in an email conversation with an undisclosed person, suggested that listeners to conservative talk radio were “a--holes.”
Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee said the emails showed — not for the first time — Lerner’s bias against conservatives. Other documents released Wednesday also suggest that Lerner used her home computer for work, which the GOP said raises questions about how well she was protecting confidential taxpayer information.
Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) said he hoped the new documents would force Attorney General Eric Holder to take the criminal investigation into the IRS’s improper scrutiny of Tea Party groups more seriously.
GOP lawmakers say the new emails from November 2012 support the charges against Lerner, the central figure in the investigation, that they referred to the Justice Department this April. Those three charges carry a maximum of 11 years in jail.
Congressional investigations into the IRS have also gained new intensity in recent weeks, after the agency said Lerner’s hard drive crashed in 2011 and that an untold number of her emails from the two years prior had gone missing.
In the emails released by the committee on Wednesday, Lerner appears to be on vacation in England and writes that she overheard local women deriding U.S. fiscal policy.
The undisclosed person on the email chain responds: “Well, you should hear the whacko wing of the GOP. The US is through; too many foreigners sucking the teat; time to hunker down, buy ammo and food, and prepare for the end. The right wing radio shows are scary to listen to.”
After that, Lerner responds: “Great. Maybe we are through if there are that many a--holes.”
Lerner had previously mentioned potentially getting a job with Organizing for Action, an offshoot of President Obama’s reelection campaign, though it’s unclear whether she was joking. Previously released emails also show her celebrating the results of the 2012 election.
Republicans have increasingly called for a special prosecutor to look into the IRS, with a House panel holding a hearing on that issue today, and have voted to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress. Lerner, who twice took the Fifth Amendment before the House Oversight Committee, said she did nothing wrong.
Camp and other Republicans had earlier referred Lerner to the DOJ for allegedly using her position to deny conservatives due process, impeding an official investigation by giving misleading statements and recklessly handling taxpayer information.
“Despite the serious investigation and evidence this committee has undertaken into the IRS’s targeting of individuals for their beliefs, there is no indication that DOJ is taking this matter seriously,” Camp said Wednesday.
“In light of this new information, I hope DOJ will aggressively pursue this case and finally appoint a special counsel, so the full truth can be revealed and justice is served.”
Holder and other top Justice Department officials have said their criminal investigation is ongoing and that they see no reason for a special prosecutor right now.
Democrats on Capitol Hill have said that close to 15 months’ worth of investigations have found no political motivation to the IRS scrutiny or White House involvement, even though the GOP has been desperate to link the controversy to President Obama.
This story was published at 11:56 a.m. and updated at 7:33 p.m.