Weaponizing the IRS Was Bad when we found out about that. Remember Lois Lerner? She was an IRS official. She went called before the House Oversight committee. That was back in 2013. The committee was investigating improper activity at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Nothing to see here
She insisted she “didn’t do anything wrong.” Then she invoked her rights under the 5th Amendment. So she didn’t have to actually talk about what she hadn’t done wrong. After her non-testimony she was put on paid administrative leave. Remember that?
She got to stay home for a while. While she did she retained access to her IRS email and who knows what else. She was continuing to collect her government salary of about $175,000 per year. Later, she retired. Now, she’s collecting a government pension.
The National Taxpayers Union calculations show the annual equivalent of as much as $102,600. That’s about $3.96 million over her expected lifetime for her 34 years service. Her political patrons probably consider her pension well-earned and wish her well in retirement.
What she released and how we found out
Judicial Watch pushed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) release of her emails. It turns out Lois was a busy political activist while at the IRS. Through her the IRS shared highly confidential tax information of several groups. Those groups include the Federal Election Commission (FEC). This is a clear violation of federal law.
According to the obtained emails. Judicial Watch discovered it was Lois Lerner who shared the information on more than one group. The emails obtained by Judicial Watch show that the IRS gave the FEC the tax returns. The returns include income, expenditures and staff pay. The emails also revealed the prying political questions the IRS wanted the groups to answer. These included their goals and requests for brochures and ads. Things not relevant to the IRS.
Ms. Lerner, prior to her retirement, likely committed a series of felonies. She did so with her release of confidential taxpayer information. No investigations or referrals for prosecution came from the Department of Justice (DoJ). Ms. Lerner is receiving her federal retirement check. We continue to pay her for the felonies she committed.
The real problem
For me the issue here isn’t which groups were handled improperly. It isn’t the retirement money. The problem really is the chilling effect of targeting of political opposition through use of a government agency. These people, the IRS have access to your healthcare records as well as your financial records. This was just the first revealed weaponization of a government agency against American citizens for political purpose.
Beyond the felonies, beyond the first amendment issues… This is about as bad as it gets short of shooting your political opponents in the street. Wait, this administration has used drones to kill American citizens without due process.
This train is just about at its destination folks; end of the line. Now we have also seen the FBI, DoJ and intelligence apparatus used too. Weaponizing the IRS Was Bad but we’ve found a way to make it worse. It is time to drain the swamp.