Report: IRS Turned Over 501(c)4 Documents to DOJ and FBI

The conservative advocacy group Judicial Watch released new Department of Justice and Internal Revenue Service documents last week indicating that the IRS gave the FBI 21 computer disks, containing 1.25 million pages of confidential tax returns from 113,000 nonprofit social welfare groups operating under Section 501(c)(4) of the Tax Code.

The documents include an official “DOJ Recap” report detailing an October 2010 meeting between Lois Lerner, the former director of the IRS’s Exempt Organizations unit who lost her job in the aftermath of the scandal involving her unit’s extra scrutiny of conservative groups, and DOJ officials and the FBI to plan for the possible criminal prosecution of targeted nonprofit organizations for allegedly illegal political activity.

The records reveal that the DOJ wanted IRS employees who were going to testify to Congress to turn over documents to the DOJ before giving them to Congress, according to Judicial Watch. The records also detail how the IRS gave the FBI the 21 computer disks, containing information on nearly every 501(c)(4) group in the United States as part of its prosecution effort.

According to a letter from then-House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, “This revelation likely means that the IRS–including possibly Lois Lerner–violated federal tax law by transmitting this information to the Justice Department.”

The documents were produced in response to court orders in two of Judicial Watch's Freedom of Information Act lawsuits against the IRS and the DOJ.

The new IRS documents include a Oct. 11, 2010 “DOJ Recap” memo sent by IRS Exempt Organizations Tax Law Specialist Siri Buller to Lerner and other top IRS officials explaining an October 8 meeting with representatives from the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and “one representative from the FBI” to discuss the possible criminal prosecution of nonprofit organizations for alleged political activity.

An IRS spokesman declined to comment on the findings.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.