House Republicans are pushing the Trump administration to do what President Obama would not: file criminal charges against former IRS official Lois Lerner. Now, a GOP House member says those charges could be near.
In 2015, the Department of Justice and the FBI declined to file charges against Lerner or any other IRS official over their targeting of conservative political groups. At the time, Republicans blasted the decision, saying the Obama administration had no business investigating a scandal whose origins may have come from the White House itself.
In an interview with Stuart Varney on Fox Business Network Thursday, Rep. Peter Roskum (R-IL) discussed the move to reopen the IRS scandal investigation. He also raised the very distinct possibility that criminal charges could at last be coming.
Here are Roskum’s comments to Varney on the issue.
“The Obama administration was very dismissive about the crimes that we believe Lois Lerner committed. And those are strong words that I’m using but the House Ways and Means Committee voted out a criminal referral to the Department of Justice which was completely dismissed by the Department of Justice. President Obama was on television at one point, in the midst of the investigation, and said there’s not a smidgen of wrongdoing here.
“We think that Lois Lerner did particularly two things wrong. Number one, she denied people due process and equal protection of the law based on their political philosophy. We’re convinced that there is overwhelming evidence to suggest that that’s true. And that’s a felony. Secondly, we suspect that she lied to the Inspector General of the Treasury Department.
“What we want is for a new Justice Department to take a fresh look at this while we’re well within the statute of limitations and if they can, to move forward with a prosecution.”
It is believed Lerner led a targeted campaign to deny conservative groups their tax exempt status and harass other groups about their donors and activities. When called to testify before Congress about her knowledge of the scandal and any possible crimes, Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment privilege and refused to testify.
In May of 2014, Lerner was found in contempt of Congress in a resolution that was passed by both Republicans and Democrats in a Congressional committee.
Here is video of the interview with Fox Business Network.
Despite overwhelming evidence that multiple laws were broken, the Obama administration refused to follow through on charges. The Justice Department at the time stated that there was “substantial evidence of mismanagement, poor judgment and institutional inertia.” However, they also stated 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.”
Sounds a lot like what the FBI said when they investigated the email scandal of Hillary Clinton, doesn’t it?