Lois Lerner, the disgraced former IRS official at the center of the scandal involving the targeting of conservatives, suggested in 2012 that federal agents examine Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, for possible misconduct, according to documents released Wednesday by the House Ways and Means Committee.
“We have seen a lot of unbelievable things in this investigation, but the fact that Lois Lerner attempted to initiate an apparently baseless IRS examination against a sitting Republican United States Senator is shocking,” Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., said in a statement.
After admitting in 2013 to the targeting of conservative groups, Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination during a House hearing and has since refused to speak about the scandal. Congress voted in May to hold her in contempt, referring her to Attorney General Eric Holder for further consideration. He has not acted on Congress' request.
“At every turn, Lerner was using the IRS as a tool for political purposes in defiance of taxpayer rights,” Camp's statement continues. “We may never know the full extent of the abuse since the IRS conveniently lost two years of Lerner emails, not to mention those of other key figures in this scandal.The fact that DOJ refuses to investigate the IRS’ abuses or appoint a special counsel demonstrates, yet again, this Administration’s unwillingness to uphold the rule of law.”
The emails released by the House committee show Lerner was concerned that a group had offered to pay for Grassley's wife in some capacity.
“Looked like they were inappropriately offering to pay for his wife,” Lerner said in one email exchange. “Perhaps we should refer to Exam?”
An IRS official named Matthew Giuliano advised against the examination as it appeared no misconduct had taken place.
Grassley is a senior Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees the IRS, and was chairman of the panel during the administration of President George W. Bush.
Here are the emails: