The Justice Department says it will not prosecute former IRS executive Lois Lerner for targeting conservative groups during the 2010 and 2012 elections.
In a letter to top Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee, Assistant Attorney General Kevin Boyd said that after a careful review of the case, DOJ will not pursue charges against Lerner, who oversaw the IRS division that reviewed tax exempt organizations.
“After this process, the Department determined that reopening the investigation would not be appropriate based on the available evidence,” Boyd wrote Texas Rep. Kevin Brady, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Illinois Rep. Peter Roskam, the chairman of the subcommittee on tax policy.
In April, Brady and Roskam asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to review the Lerner case and to consider whether she should be charged with a crime.
Lerner was accused of improperly targeting tea party affiliated groups by denying or stonewalling their applications for tax-exempt status.
Lerner, who has since retired from the IRS, pleaded the Fifth in two separate congressional hearings — one in 2013 and another in 2014. In 2014, the Ways and Means Committee referred Lerner to the Obama Justice Department for prosecution. Republicans on the panel accused her of obstructing justice and misleading Congress. The Obama DOJ declined prosecution in 2015.
Brady and Roskam blasted the DOJ’s latest decision.
“This is a terrible decision,” Brady said in a statement. “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.”
He said that while he has “the utmost respect” for Sessions, he is “troubled by his Department’s lack of action to fully respond to our request and deliver accountability.”
“Today’s decision does not mean Lois Lerner is innocent. It means the justice system in Washington is deeply flawed,” he added.
Roskam called the DOJ decision “a miscarriage of justice.”