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BIG BREAK IN IRS CASE WILL CHANGE SCANDAL’S COURSE
New evidence about the actions of the IRS official at the center of the investigation into the agency’s systematic targeting of President Obama’s political adversaries is intensifying the firestorm over the alleged corruption. IRS executive Lois Lerner apparently pushed for an audit of one of the administration’s most outspoken critics in the Senate. In emails with a colleague, Lerner claims to have mistakenly received an invitation to Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, to give a speech to a non-profit group in 2012. Lerner wrote that the group offered to pay for Grassley’s wife to attend. Lerner wanted to sic investigators on Grassley, even though, as her colleague observed, the offer was not improper. How did Lerner, a then-unknown IRS division manager, end up with a speaking invitation to an Iowa Republican Senator? We can’t know because Lerner refuses to testify. What other notable Republican did she suggest be targeted? We can’t find out because the agency “recycled” the hard drives that the IRS says include her sent items from the key period of the targeting. But what we do know is: Pushing for the selective prosecution of a high-profile administration adversary in the Senate is a big deal and will change the way this case moves forward.
“We don’t want her in jail, we want the truth. We want the truth more than anything else...” – House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif. on “The Kelly File” making his first-ever demand for a special prosecutor into the targeting of the president’s political enemies. Watch the full interview here.
Game changer - The good news for the administration is that this revelation makes it easier to sell the narrative that Lerner was the source of the corruption and that her removal was curative. This is fuel for the bus the White House is trying to throw Lerner under. The bad news for the administration is that the revelation of a rank, partisan abuse like this one, especially aimed at the legislative branch, may break the dam of resistance to an outside investigation. Coming on the heels of the admission that the agency had trashed evidence in the case, Democrats will feel increasing pressure to demand more than the apparently stalled internal investigation in the administration. Remember, outrage in the Senate over domestic spying didn’t get really hot until it was revealed that lawmakers themselves were targets. A special prosecutor is the only way out.