Attorney General Jeff Sessions was noncommittal when asked in an interview whether he would fulfill a request by Republican lawmakers to review evidence that former IRS official Lois Lerner engaged in criminal misconduct by targeting tea-party and conservative groups for their political beliefs.
“Are you inclined to open an investigation of Lois Lerner and the IRS?” asked Boston talk-radio host Howie Carr Thursday.
“Well, I would, I’m, uh, interested in that letter,” he said.
“We’re going to respond to it, and I think it would be appropriate to review certain cases, and we’ll evaluate this one for possible review,” the attorney general said.
Lauren Aronson, press secretary for the House Ways and Means Committee, which investigated the IRS scandal and referred Lerner for criminal prosecution, responded to WND’s request to comment on Sessions’ response.
“We appreciate the attorney general’s consideration and look forward to working with him on a range of issues to protect taxpayers rights,” she told WND.
As WND reported Thursday, two GOP lawmakers wrote to Sessions arguing the three-year investigation by the House Ways and Means Committee founder Lerner “used her position to improperly influence IRS action against conservative organizations, denying these groups due process and equal protection rights under the law.”
Lerner, meanwhile, the subject of a class-action lawsuit by more than 400 of the targeted groups, is asking a judge to seal her upcoming deposition in the case, claiming she faces death threats.
The Obama Justice Department investigated Lerner but decided in 2015 not to prosecute her.
Lerner, the former IRS exempt organizations division director during the Obama administration, confessed in 2013 that her agency obstructed tea-party and conservative groups’ applications prior to the 2012 election because of their political beliefs. She pinned the blame on low-level employees, however, then pleaded the Fifth in a hearing of the Oversight and Government Reform House committee. The GOP-led House responded by passing a contempt-of-court resolution, and she resigned in September 2013.
In their letter, the lawmakers pointed out to Sessions that in February 2014, while the DOJ probe was ongoing, President Obama stated there was “not a smidgeon of corruption” at the IRS, which, they said, “preempted a fair investigation.”
Last week, several Republicans members of the Ways and Means Committee urged President Trump to fire IRS Commissioner John Koksinen, contending he has impeded congressional investigations into the targeting scandal.