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Justice Department Will Not Prosecute IRS, Lois Lerner
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Summary: After a massive scandal and a two year investigation, the Department of Justice will not pursue criminal charges against the IRS or Lois Lerner.

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Lois Lerner. Courtesy of Politico.

On Friday, the Justice Department informed Congress it won’t be prosecuting the IRS or its former official Lois Lerner.

  
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For two years, the Justice Department investigated the IRS over allegations that it had improperly targeted members of the Tea Party and other right wing groups. The probe found “substantial evidence of mismanagement” that the IRS targeted people because of their politics, but Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik said, “Poor management is not a crime.”

USA Today reported that Lerner was a “central figure in the IRS’s decision to hold up — often for years — the applications of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.” The conservative group targeting began in 2010 during the emergence of the Tea Party. USA Today additionally reported that 80% of the groups held up for receiving tax exemption were conservative.

Kadzik added, “We found no evidence that any IRS official acted based on political, discriminatory, corrupt, or other inappropriate motives that would support a criminal prosecution.”

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Darrell Issa, R-California, was against the decision. He said in a statement published by CNN, “The Justice Department’s decision to close the IRS targeting investigation without a single charge or prosecution is a low point of accountability in an administration that is better known for punishing whistleblowers than the abuse and misconduct they expose.”

Issa continued, “After stating that their investigation confirms that the Tea Party and conservative groups were improperly targeted, they dismiss it merely as a byproduct of gross mismanagement and incompetence — ignoring volumes of evidence in the public record and efforts to obstruct legitimate inquiries.”



To recap, in 2013, Lerner answered a planted question at an American Bar Association event concerning the scrutiny of certain groups applying for a tax exemption. Her answer led to an IRS scandal, and within weeks, congressional hearings were held and Lerner, the interim leader of the IRS, was forced out of office. JDJournal reported that President Barack Obama condemned the IRS’ action in 2013 when news broke out.

Obama stated, “This is pretty straightforward. If, in fact, IRS personnel engaged in the kind of practices that have been reported on and were intentionally targeting conservative groups, then that is outrageous, and there’s no place for it, and they have to be held fully accountable, because the IRS as an independent agency requires absolute integrity and people have to have confidence that they are applying the laws in a non-partisan way. You should feel that way regardless of party. But I will not tolerate it, and we will make sure that we find out exactly what happened on this.”

The IRS’s broad duties include tax collection and the implementation of Obamacare. Since the conservative group allegations, the IRS has struggled to recover from the scandal, according to CNN.



 

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