This past April, some Republicans approached Attorney General Jeff Sessions to look once again into the case of Lois Lerner and the IRS targeting scandal. Today, the Department of Justice released a statement that “reopening the criminal investigation would not be appropriate based on the available evidence.” Though the response was expected, it was still disappointing; Lois Lerner deserved to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for her conduct.
Lois Lerner headed the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt groups. An inspector general’s report in 2013 found that the IRS had singled out conservative and tea party groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status. Many had their applications delayed for months and years. Some were asked improper questions about their donors and even their religious practices. Yet, Obama’s Department of Justice concluded in 2015 that they had “found no evidence that any IRS official acted based on political, discriminatory, corrupt or other inappropriate motives that would support a criminal prosecution.” By then, Lerner and others embroiled in the scandal had resigned or retired.
It is a national tragedy that the woman who harassed taxpayer groups, interfered with evidence, and colluded with government entities to suppress thought remains absolved from her transgressions.