Former IRS official Lois Lerner tried to block an IRS supervisor’s visit to the Cincinnati office that she oversaw during the period in which her division was targeting conservative groups.
Lerner made clear that she didn’t want the official talking to employees involved in early congressional and inspector general probes into the “c4” business, according to newly unearthed emails.
As The Daily Caller extensively reported, Lerner and her underling Nikole Flax unveiled the new program of nonprofit scrutiny at a 2010 conference of government workers at Washington’s Grand Hyatt hotel. IRS officials obtained donor lists for a “secret research project” that was approved by then-IRS commissioner Steven T. Miller. Lerner provided confidential taxpayer information on a conservative group to senior White House adviser Jeanne Lambrew. (RELATED: Obama Admin Refuses To Turn Over Info On IRS-White House Coordination).
Lerner wanted to stop people from poking around, according to an April 4, 2012 email uncovered by Judicial Watch, which is suing the IRS for information.
“We just go[t] an very extensive information request from Imraan [Khakoo, an IRS official] –sure looks like op review material. I’m especially concerned that information about pipeline is being asked about … Add to that the fact tha cincinnati is smack dab in the middle of the c4 Congressional inqueries and is about to get a request from TIGTA on all of that, this is NOT a good time to be asking them for anything or to be talking to them about issue in their work. Everyone is stressed to the max and at their wits end, so can we put this off please?” Lerner wrote to her IRS supervisor Joseph Grant.
“It is a visit, not an OP review … I am also interested in the questions Imraan sent to them. Some answers should be readily at hand. Others certainly won’t be,” Grant replied. “The questions just serve as a framework for a broader conversation about how things are going and what is on our respective minds.”
Lerner continued to try to stop the visit.
“I get that–but timing would be bad if we have to go to Cincy now. So, I will assume we can go over this here as I get the information I’ve already asked for? Thanks.”