Lois Lerner, the former director of the Internal Revenue Service’s Exempt Organizations unit, referred to “crazies” and “---holes” in an email exchange uncovered by Republican lawmakers on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.
The committee and others in Congress have been investigating the actions of Lerner’s former unit, which was in charge of reviewing the applications from organizations applying for tax-exempt status. Lerner admitted in a speech last year that the unit had used inappropriate terms such as “Tea Party” and “Patriot” to filter through the applications in an effort to identify political organizations for further scrutiny.
The revelation came ahead of the release of a report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration on the practice and led to the ouster of Lerner and other top officials. The IRS has admitted that over two years’ worth of emails between Lerner and people outside the agency were lost after the hard disk on Lerner’s laptop crashed, but it has provided thousands of internal emails that Lerner exchanged with her colleagues at the IRS to congressional investigators.
Among them was an exchange on Nov. 9, 2012 with someone whose name has been redacted from the document, which was posted online Wednesday by Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee. The email correspondent asked Lerner about her plans for the weekend, and she described a trip she was on in England at the time, where she overheard some women criticizing the American economy.
The other correspondent replied, “Well, you should hear the whacko wing of the GOP. The US is through; too many foreigners sucking the teat; time to hunker down, buy ammo and food, and prepare for the end. The right wing radio shows are scary.”
Lerner in turn responded, “Great. Maybe we are through if there are that many ---holes.”
Her correspondent answered, “And I’m talking about the hosts of the shows. The callers are rabid.”
Lerner then wrote, “So we don’t need to worry about alien terrorists. It’s our own crazies that will take us down.”
House Ways and Means Committee chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., released the emails Wednesday, urging the Department of Justice to follow up on a criminal referral letter that his committee sent in April alleging possible criminal wrongdoing by Lerner. In releasing the letter, Camp said, “Despite the serious investigation and evidence this committee has undertaken into the IRS’s targeting of individuals for their beliefs, there is no indication that DOJ is taking this matter seriously. In light of this new information, I hope DOJ will aggressively pursue this case and finally appoint a special counsel, so the full truth can be revealed and justice is served.”
Camp said his committee also found that Lerner used her personal email account for official business, including confidential return information. He urged the Justice Department to investigate whether there was any unauthorized disclosure of taxpayer information in violation of the law.
He pointed to a newly discovered email from February 2012 in which Lerner and an IRS technology professional discussed a virus on her home PC. In the exchange, Lerner indicated that she kept work information on her home computer, some of which may have been lost. She said her computer may have been “simply hacked because my password was too simple.” Camp’s office said the email exchange raises concerns that taxpayer information may have been leaked.
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