IRS to turn over Lerner emails in tea party targeting probe

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House Republicans said Friday that the IRS has agreed to turn over documents and emails from Lois G. Lerner, the agency’s former employee who was at the center of the tea party targeting scandal.

The announcement comes after months of jockeying between House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp and the IRS, which had said it was wading through hundreds of thousands of documents requested by House Republicans in their investigation into the targeting.

Some Lerner documents have already been turned over and they have only stoked investigators’ interests, particularly because some seem to hint that the IRS was planning a crackdown on nonprofit groups years ago — or well before an internal audit last year revealed the tea party targeting.

“From the few Lerner documents we have received, we know that Washington, D.C. orchestrated the targeting of groups applying for tax-exempt status, surveillance of existing tax-exempt groups and formed the proposed 501(c)(4) rules designed to push conservative groups out of the public forum,” Mr. Camp said in a statement announcing the agreement with the IRS. “The remaining documents are key to determining the level of wrong doing and deception committed by this agency.”

Congressional Democrats say the IRS was wrong to ask improper questions of tea party groups, but they say some progressive groups also faced stiff scrutiny. Democrats also say there’s been no evidence showing IRS employees were ordered by political appointees to target the tea party.

Ms. Lerner retired from the IRS last year amid the scandal.

Earlier this week she declined for a second time to answer questions from the House Oversight Committee, again invoking her right against self-incrimination. House Republicans said they would consider holding her in contempt of Congress.

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