The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee recently obtained an email addressed to former IRS official Lois Lerner sent from Election Crimes Branch Director Richard Pilger at the Justice Department. The email addressed to Lerner stated that, “I have been asked to run something by you.” During the Committee’s investigation, Public Integrity Section Chief Jack Smith told investigators that officials at the Justice Department discussed targeting conservative nonprofit groups with Lerner as early as October 2010. The Committee reasons that, “[w]hile we knew that the Justice Department engaged with the IRS in May 2013 to consider prosecution of political active nonprofits, we were shocked to learn that this engagement started in October 2010.”
After connecting these two pieces of evidence, the Committee determined it was necessary to hear Smith’s testimony. Committee Chairman Darrel Issa and subcommittee chairman Jim Jordan have requested a transcribed interview with Jack Smith.
Pilger says that Smith asked him to arrange a meeting with Lerner. Pilger further stated that the agenda for the meeting was to discuss how the IRS could be, “more vigilant to the opportunities from more crime in the . . . 501(c)(4) area.”
In their letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, the Committee said, “The Justice Department convened a meeting with former IRS official Lois Lerner in October 2010 to discuss how the IRS could assist in the criminal enforcement of campaign-finance laws against politically active nonprofits. This meeting was arranged at the direction of Public Integrity Section Chief Jack Smith.”
It appears that Lerner was not selected for the IRS by accident, but perhaps was intentionally selected as part of a more concerted effort to stop non-profit conservative groups after the Citizens United case. Lerner was recently held in contempt by the House for refusing to testify regarding her role in the IRS targeting of tax-exempt 501(c)(4) conservative groups.