Investigators in Congress discovered new emails from Lois Lerner Wednesday revealing the former IRS Exempt Organizations director’s attempt to audit GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley in 2012 over an email mixup.
According to the Associated Press, Lerner mistakenly received an email invitation to speak at an event in December 2012 meant for Grassley, who presumably received Lerner’s.
The invitation from the organizer reportedly included an offer to pay for the attendance of Grassley’s wife, should the two be interested in coming. Upon reading Grassley’s invitation mistakenly sent to her, the IRS official accused of unjustifiably targeting conservative tea party organizations’ tax exempt status forwarded the email to another IRS employee, and suggested auditing the Iowa senator.
Lerner speculated it was “inappropriate” for the organizer to pay for Grassley’s wife to attend.
Legal counsel for the IRS’s Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division Matthew Giuliano shot down Lerner’s suggestion, and said an audit would be an unqualified action.
“I think the offer to pay for Grassley’s wife is income to Grassley, and not prohibited on its face,” Giuliano wrote back.
After receiving Giuliano’s response, Lerner replied she wouldn’t “want to be on stage with Grassley on this issue.”
Michigan Republican Rep. Dave Camp, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, released the emails late Wednesday, saying he found them “shocking.”
“We have seen a lot of unbelievable things in this investigation, but the fact that Lois Lerner attempted to initiate an apparently baseless IRS examination against a sitting Republican United States Senator is shocking,” Camp said in a statement according to Business Insider. “At every turn, Lerner was using the IRS as a tool for political purposes in defiance of taxpayer rights.”