Rep. Kelly Takes Action to Bring Ex-IRS Official Lois Lerner to Justice

Apr 9, 2014 Issues: Government Oversight and Reform

Ways & Means committee sends criminal referral letter to DOJ

WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Committee – issued the following statement today after the committee convened a rare executive session to approve (“mark-up”) a criminal referral letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding probable criminal activity by Lois Lerner, former Director of the Exempt Organizations Division of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Ms. Lerner resigned from the position and retired from the IRS last year in the aftermath of revelations that the agency deliberately targeted members of politically conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status and subsequently applied excessive and unlawful scrutiny to their application processes.

“Today’s unprecedented action is a direct response to the unprecedented abuse of federal power shockingly committed by the IRS against innocent American citizens. The fact that the most feared entity in our government actually conspired to effectively punish certain Americans for their beliefs still sickens me, and Americans from coast to coast are still right to be outraged by it. Such chilling behavior has no place in the United States, and it must never be permitted to happen again.

“The committee’s investigation into this scandal has been long and even frustrating, but it has brought us to today’s decision. With the firm evidence that will now be presented to the Justice Department, firm action must follow. This administration must no longer run from its responsibility to enforce the law and defend the Constitution. Ms. Lerner has thus far clung to the Fifth Amendment in order to get away with undermining the First Amendment, but now justice must no longer be skirted. For the sake of the First Amendment rights of all Americans of every political persuasion, Ms. Lerner’s crimes must not go uncharged — or, if necessary, unpunished.”

NOTE: The Ways and Means Committee’s letter of criminal referral outlines the following criminal violations believed to be committed by Lois Lerner: 1.) Using her position of influence to deny conservative groups the rights of due process and equal protection under the law as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution; 2.) Knowingly misleading official investigators throughout inquiry by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA); and 3.) Exposing confidential taxpayer information through use of her personal e-mail to conduct official business. The letter can be viewed here.

BACKGROUND: Rep. Kelly sits on the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight and has been a prominent vocal leader in the ongoing pursuit for answers since news of the IRS scandal first broke. He is the original sponsor of the Government Employee Accountability Act, which would grant all federal agencies the power to fire reckless Senior Executive Service (SES) employees (such as Lois Lerner) on the spot, or place them on “investigative leave” without pay. The legislation was passed by the House of Representatives on August 1, 2013, as part of H.R. 2879, the Stop Government Abuse Act, by a bipartisan vote of 239-176.