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Issa investigating alleged collusion between IRS and FEC

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) sent a letter to the Federal Election
Committee (FEC) on Wednesday requesting documents he says are
potentially related to “inappropriate coordination” between the
independent regulatory agency and the IRS.

“Documents recently produced to the Committee demonstrate that FEC
personnel communicated with IRS personnel about tax-exempt groups
engaged in political activities,” Issa wrote.

{mosads}The chairman of the House Oversight Committee cited emails between an
FEC official and then-IRS Director of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner, who earlier this year
plead the fifth in testimony before Congress, in which the FEC
official asked Lerner about tax-exempt applications pertaining to two
conservative groups.

Issa said the communications between the two groups “raise the prospect
of inappropriate coordination between the IRS and the FEC about
tax-exempt entities.” He’s requested documentation for all
communication between FEC and IRS employees from Jan. 1, 2008, to the
present.

The Oversight chairman has fought to keep the investigation into the
IRS’s alleged singling-out of Tea Party-affiliated groups in the
public eye.

Last week, Issa subpoenaed IRS documents from the Treasury Department and on Tuesday, wrote an op-ed urging the White House and the IRS to be
more cooperative in his investigations.

President Obama has denounced the investigation as an example of
Republicans trumping up “phony scandals,” and the White House and
Democrats have argued that Issa has produced no evidence to indicate
the IRS’s processing of tax-exempt applications has been politically
motivated.

The IRS defended itself in a statement, arguing that the agencies were coordinating to protect taxpayer information, but said it would “fully review” Issa’s request.

“The IRS emphasizes that it takes its obligation to protect confidential taxpayer information very seriously,” a spokesperson told The Hill.

“The email attached to the letter indicates that both Ms. Lerner and the FEC attorney recognized the IRS obligation to protect taxpayer information and that neither person wanted the IRS to provide the FEC with anything other than publicly available information,” the spokesperson added. “Of course, the IRS intends to fully review and respond to the request from the chairmen.”

This story was updated on Aug. 8 at 11:54 a.m.

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