GOP Shouldn't Let IRS Scandal Retire With Lois Lerner
Posted 06:56 PM ET
Justice: Lois Lerner, the IRS official responsible for harassing Tea Party and other conservative groups, is retiring. Democrats are hoping this is the end of the scandal. In fact, the investigation is only beginning.
Lerner, it's been reported, will walk away with a $50,000-plus-a-year retirement, not bad for someone officially found to be in "neglect of (her) duties" and about to be fired. She's been on official leave since May, when she admitted the IRS had targeted conservative groups for added scrutiny.
Unfortunately, Lerner, the former director of IRS exempt organizations, claimed only low-level "rogue" IRS officials in Cincinnati were responsible.
This turned out to be a lie. As we noted recently, Lerner herself had termed the Tea Party movement "extremely dangerous" in an email. She openly hoped the Federal Election Commission would "save the day" by keeping the groups from taking part in the election.
Sounds to us like tampering with a federal election, a felony. Even as Lerner took the Fifth before Congress, she publicly protested her innocence.
Now, after being on paid "administrative leave" for three months, she's retiring. No doubt, she'll get a pat on the back and "job well done" from left-leaning IRS coworkers — and silence from Democrats in Congress.
Not so fast. To begin with, she should have been fired, not retired. That she wasn't is scandal enough. But what's truly outrageous, as the Media Research Center notes, is that even after committing such an outrage against our democracy, not one major network news outlet chose to cover her retirement.
Indeed, the MRC observed, "It's been a whopping 90 days since ABC last mentioned the story on either their morning or evening news programs, 89 days since NBC mentioned it, and 61 days at CBS."
It's quite possible that 2012 was a stolen election, with dozens of conservative and Tea Party groups sidelined by IRS and FEC intervention. The media just don't care. But they should. If it was systematic, it was a crime.
We're glad to see House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, Ways and Means Committee Chairman David Camp and Senate Finance Committee senior Republican Orrin Hatch have all vowed to continue investigating the scandal.
They're right to do so. Democrats no doubt want this scandal and its dozens of unanswered questions to go away. But the scandal can't be retired along with Lerner. The American people are due some answers.