The Trump Justice Department has once again cleared former IRS senior executive Lois G. Lerner of criminal liability stemming from the tea party targeting.
In a letter to top Republicans, Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd said they re-reviewed the case and concluded there isn’t enough evidence to charge Ms. Lerner, who was at the center of the targeting.
Mr. Boyd said the new review included lawyers who only recently joined the department and weren’t part of the Obama administration’s earlier decision.
“After this process, the Department determined that reopening the investigation would not be appropriate based on the available evidence,” Mr. Boyd said.
He said if new information comes to light, the decision could be revisited.
Republicans on Capitol Hill called the decision “terrible.”
“It sends the message that the same legal, ethical and Constitutional standards we all live by do not apply to Washington political appointees — who will now have the green light to target Americans for their political beliefs and mislead investigators without ever being held accountable for their lawlessness,” said Rep. Kevin Brady, Texas Republican and House Ways and Means chairman.
He said he respects Attorney General Jeff Sessions, but was “troubled” by his department’s handling of the request to investigate Ms. Lerner.
“The decision not to prosecute Lois Lerner is a miscarriage of justice,” said Rep. Peter Roskam, an Illinois Republican who was one of the key lawmakers pushing for an investigation.
Ms. Lerner led the division of the IRS that singled out conservative and tea party groups for intrusive scrutiny in their applications for nonprofit status.
Conservative groups say she facilitated the targeting. But a Justice Department investigation under the Obama administration said Ms. Lerner actually took steps to try to repair the targeting when she learned of it.