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Lerner will appear before the oversight panel today under subpoena. | John Shinkle/POLITICOBy RACHAEL BADE | 3/5/14 8:51 AM ESTHouse Republicans investigating the IRS tea party targeting scandal think they’ve established a motive: the Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United ruling — and, they say, top IRS officials’ attempt to limit its impact.Former IRS official Lois Lerner and her colleagues mired in the debacle seemed concerned that the 2010 ruling striking caps on corporate political donations would influence the political activities of nonprofits, according to emails in a draft of a new Oversight and Government Reform Republican report, obtained by POLITICO.“The public discussion criticizing conservative-learning organizations … affected how the IRS identified and evaluated applications,” the report says, later asserting: “Lerner believed the political participation of tax-exempt organizations harmed Democratic candidates, she believed something needed to be done and she directed action from her unit at the IRS.”Lerner’s lawyer William Taylor III of Zuckerman Spaeder called the accusation “pure fiction.”Though emails in the report show Lerner and top IRS officials indeed had their eyes on potential abuse of tax-exempt status following the 2010 court ruling, nothing in the report seems to prove that Lerner had interest in protecting Democrats — just enforcing rules.“My object is not to look for political activity — more to see whether self-declared c4s are really acting like c4s. Then we’ll move on to c5, c6, c7 — it will fill up the work plan forever!” she wrote to her colleagues in a fall 2010 email exchange. That was several months after a group of Cincinnati-based IRS employees first pulled conservative groups applying for tax exemptions for a closer look because of heightened “media attention” surrounding them.Lerner will appear before Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa’s (R-Calif.) panel today under subpoena. The former head of the tax-exempt division is expected to evoke her Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination and refuse questioning, just like she did when called before the panel last May.Issa has been the most aggressive among several lawmakers probing the matter, which exploded last year when Lerner first acknowledged the IRS gave added scrutiny to tea party groups, followed by a critical inspector general report.The report shows top-level IRS concerns about whether social welfare organizations were following IRS rules. Such nonprofit groups, which don’t have to disclose their donors, are only allowed to use up to 49 percent of their resources for political purposes if they want tax exemptions.It is a murky standard though and many say a reason why the IRS got itself in such hot water trying to determine political activity.According to the report, as early as September 2010, Lerner forwarded to her colleagues an EO Tax Journal blog advising the IRS to “keep track of new c4s” and “be more pro-active” about catching groups created solely for political activities. One quote in the story specifically calls out the “educational organizations woven by the fabulously rich Koch Brothers to foster their own financial interest by political means.”http://www.politico.com/story/2014/03/lois-lerner-citizens-united-104279.html