GOP lawmakers furious after DOJ declines to prosecute ex-IRS official Lois Lerner
Two GOP lawmakers have turned their fire on President Trump’s Justice Department after it announced it would not reconsider its decision not to prosecute Lois Lerner, the IRS employee at the center of the 2013 political-targeting scandal.
Reps. Kevin Brady (Texas) and Peter Roskam (Ill.), who sit on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, issued a statement Friday afternoon blasting the Department of Justice and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s “deeply flawed” decision not to prosecute Lerner criminally.
“I have the utmost respect for Attorney General Sessions, but I’m troubled by his Department’s lack of action to fully respond to our request and deliver accountability. Today’s decision does not mean Lois Lerner is innocent. It means the justice system in Washington is deeply flawed,” wrote Brady, the committee chairman.
Roskam, chairman of the Tax Policy subcommittee, called Sessions’s announcement a “miscarriage of justice.”
“The decision not to prosecute Lois Lerner is a miscarriage of justice,” Roskam wrote. “On top of Ms. Lerner’s actions against taxpayers — denying tax-exempt status to groups for political gain and failing to protect taxpayer information — the Department’s response blatantly ignores our most troubling finding: that Ms. Lerner intentionally misled federal investigators in a flagrant violation of the law.”
“Our democracy is injured when those who taxpayers entrust with great authority ignore the law to advance their own political agenda without repercussion,” Roskam added.
Lerner was the head of IRS divisions that oversaw tax-exempt groups when requests from conservative groups began to receive more scrutiny by the department. Lerner acknowledged the improper handling of the applications in 2013 shortly before being put on leave by the IRS and eventually retiring.
The Justice Department declined to prosecute Lerner in 2015 under former President Obama, but Brady and Roskam wrote a letter in April to Sessions asking him to reconsider the department’s decision.
In a letter Friday afternoon, Sessions rejected their request, writing that based on a review of the case, it “would not be appropriate” to reopen the investigation.
While “the Department’s investigation uncovered substantial evidence of mismanagement at the IRS,” the Justice letter said, the probe “had not uncovered evidence of criminal intent by any IRS official.”
DOJ sends ltr saying they are denying a request from House GOPers asking for former IRS official Lois Lerner to be prosecuted –> pic.twitter.com/Xg9UsyVgDh
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) September 8, 2017