Politics

IRS Colleagues Called Lois Lerner ‘Volatile’

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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Ethan Barton Managing Editor

Disgraced former IRS official Lois Lerner, made famous by the agency’s conservative targeting scandal, was a “volatile” “micromanager” who “targets people,” her colleagues told the FBI.

Lerner headed the IRS office that targeted conservative and Tea Party non-profit applicants. She sent their tax exemption applications to a bureaucratic “black hole” prior to and after the 2012 election, FBI interviews obtained by the conservative watchdog Judicial Watch show.

The documents reveal a side of Lerner’s disruptive personality that was previously unreported. The interviews were conducted in 2013 and 2014.

“Lerner is very volatile,” top IRS official Nancy Marks told the FBI. “When something upsets Lerner, she flies up into the rafters and yells and targets people, then she settles down and figures it out in a rational manner. She then becomes very reasonable again.”

Lerner told the FBI that she went “ballistic” during a meeting where she learned about the Tea Party targeting.

“Lerner yelled and raised her voice at the meeting,” the FBI wrote of her testimony. “[S]he is passionate and tended to get loud when that happened.”

Lerner “had a tendency to blow up,” an unidentified IRS senior technical adviser told the FBI.

Nikole Flax, another top IRS official, added: “Lerner was a strong personality.”

Lerner’s colleagues also criticized her leadership. The FBI ultimately blamed the targeting scandal on “mismanagement” in lieu of pressing charges, CNN reported.

“Lerner is a micromanager,” an unnamed technical adviser told the FBI, and also remarked that Lerner and top IRS official Holly Paz had a “volatile but good” relationship.

Flax added that Lerner’s method for correcting the tea party targeting “was to be defensive of her program,” but Marks was ultimately deployed because that “approach wasn’t working.”

Lerner was so difficult to work with that it was said that she “cannot help herself not to ‘butt in every two minutes'” when she’s around Marks, according to the FBI’s narrative of Flax’s interview. That obstruction convinced then-IRS Commissioner Steven Miller not to invite Lerner to a meeting regarding Marks’ findings.

“At meetings, Lerner had a hard time keeping her mouth shut,” Flax continued. Flax, in fact, couldn’t believe Lerner pleaded the Fifth Amendment not to testify before Congress because Lerner “loved to talk.”

Lerner also referred to conservatives as “assholes” in one email, which then-House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican, said showed “that Ms. Lerner’s mistreat­ment of conservative groups was driven by her personal hostility toward conservatives.”

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