Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine asked a judge Wednesday to release former IRS senior executive Lois G. Lerner’s secret testimony about her actions during the Obama administration’s tea party targeting, saying Americans deserve an “unvarnished publish accounting” of what Ms. Lerner did.
Ms. Lerner and Holly Paz, one of her subordinates at the IRS during the tea party targeting, have sought to keep their depositions permanently sealed in a federal lawsuit playing out in Cincinnati. They say they already faced death threats over their role in the scandal, and say release of the transcripts would renew the danger they face.
But even the nature of those threats has been sealed, as the case continues.
Tea party groups and a local newspaper have already asked for the Lerner records to be unsealed, and now Mr. DeWine, a Republican running for governor in this year’s midterm elections, is adding his voice.
“What Ms. Lerner and Ms. Paz say they did, and what they say they did not do, all in their official, taxpayer-funded capacities with regard to matters now concluding, should not be a state secret,” Mr. DeWine wrote in a court filing.
Ms. Lerner was the key official at the center of the targeting, which saw hundreds of conservative and tea party organizations see their nonprofit status applications delayed and subjected to inappropriate scrutiny.
The targeting took place from 2010 through at least 2013, and some groups’ applications were blockaded for years after that.
The IRS has since apologized for its behavior, and settled several lawsuits.
A final settlement agreement, involving millions of dollars in a payout from the government to tea party groups, is awaiting approval in the Cincinnati case.
Ms. Lerner and Ms. Paz argue in court that since a settlement has been reached, their testimony, which was taken then sealed during the proceedings, does not need to be made public.