© Greg Nash
Former IRS official Lois Lerner described Republican lawmakers grilling her on Capitol Hill as "evil and dishonest" in emails from the height of furor over her agency's handling of Tea Party groups.
"[Y]esterday was a doozy. They called me back to testify on the IRS 'scandal,' and I too[k] the 5th again because they had been so evil and dishonest in my lawyer's dealings with them," she wrote in an email.
Lerner added in the email to a friend, dated March 6, 2014, that "this is very bad behavior on the part of our elected officials," including links to articles about her appearance before the House Oversight Committee.
The former IRS official at the center of the agency's targeting controversy invoked her Fifth Amendment rights under a series of questions from then-House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).
Later in the same email chain, when discussing Texas politics, Lerner wrote that her "view is that Lincoln was our worst president not our best" and said that the former president should have "let the south go."
She also lamented in another email exchange the "really awful photos" taken of her at an earlier hearing that kept being used because "it serves their purposes of hate mongering to continue to use those images."
"I was never a political person," she wrote in the email dated June 26, 2014, adding that the controversy "has only made me lose all respect [for] politics and politicians."
The previously unreported email exchanges were first highlighted by Politico and were included in thousands of pages of documents from a bipartisan Senate Finance Committee Committee report released this month.
That report found the IRS severely mismanaged applications from Tea Party groups seeking tax-exempt status and that Lerner specifically "failed to adequately manage" her staff when processing the applications.
Tags Lois Lerner