â€œI didnâ€™t do anything wrong,â€ retired Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Lois Lerner tells Politico in a rare interviews with the press. Lerner has stayed quiet since she came under fire as part an ongoing scandal involving the tax agencyâ€™s targeting of conservative non-profits.
Lerner thinks she did nothing wrong, and she wonâ€™t apologize. â€œRegardless of whatever else happens, I know I did the best I could under the circumstances and am not sorry for anything I did,â€ she said in an interview with the paper.
Thatâ€™s basically all she says about her role in the scandal. Lerner, who, after reading a statement, exercised her Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination when called to testify before Congress last year, doesnâ€™t really add anything to her defense with the statements in her piece. She declares that she stands by her workâ€"and thatâ€™s it.
She says she get a lot of hate mail and grief, and some of it is genuinely outrageous, including anti-Semitic remarks and death threats serious enough that federal agents have been called in for protection.
We do learn about her, um, favorite piece of hate mail:
Among the hate mail, Lernerâ€™s â€œfavoriteâ€ is one that says sheâ€™ll â€œgo down in history as the worst person ever in the United States.â€
â€œI just thought, â€˜Boy, worse than Jeffrey Dahmer?â€™â€ she asks, her face crinkling up, eyebrows pinching together in disbelief.
She and her husband, a partner at a law firm who sat with her during the interview, seem fairly upset about the loss of income that has come as a result of the scandal.
â€œUnder both Republican and Democratic administrations, she got these amazing ratings and bonuses. â€¦ And once she retired, she would have gone out with bells and whistles, and the IRS commissioner would have made a speech. â€¦ It went from that to: Youâ€™re under criminal investigation, and your career is ruined, in a week,â€ her husband Michael Miles said to Politico.
She may not have gotten all the â€œbells and whistlesâ€ when she left the agency last year, but she did manage to retire with benefits and a pension that has been valued in the range of $50,000 a year. That's not bad considering that when she retired, a review board was about to recommend that she be fired, citing mismanagement and â€œneglect of dutiesâ€ in her role as head of the IRS tax exempt division, according to an Associated Press article from last year.