- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 28, 2015

Insisting Lois G. Lerner is still a target, congressional Republicans sent a letter to new Attorney General Loretta Lynch Thursday asking her to follow through on their official request last year for a criminal investigation into Ms. Lerner’s behavior at the IRS.

Led by Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, the Republicans said it’s been more than a year and the Justice Department has yet to respond to the referral the committee approved on April 9, 2014, listing three areas where lawmakers believe Ms. Lerner may have broken the law.

“The committee continues to believe that these serious charges should be pursued by the Department of Justice,” Mr. Ryan and his fellow lawmakers said in their letter.

They said Ms. Lerner used her position as a senior executive overseeing tax-exempt groups’ applications to improperly target conservatives for intrusive scrutiny; impeded an official investigation by misleading the inspector general; and may have disclosed confidential taxpayer information by using her private email to conduct official IRS business.

The Justice Department didn’t respond to a request for comment.

But it has shown little urgency in following through on the IRS scandal.

Immediately after the inspector general revealed in 2013 that officials had singled out conservative and tea party groups for intrusive scrutiny and blocked their applications for tax-exempt status, then-Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced a criminal probe.

But that probe has languished as President Obama declared there wasn’t any evidence of corruption at the IRS.

Separately, the House voted to hold Ms. Lerner in contempt of Congress for delivering a statement of innocence at a committee hearing then refusing to answer questions about her activities. But two months ago, as he was leaving office, then-U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen announced he was declining to pursue the contempt proceeding, saying he’d concluded Ms. Lerner was within her rights.

Mr. Machen didn’t comment on the criminal referral at the time, and the GOP lawmakers in Thursday’s letter said they wanted an update.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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