DOJ Closes Investigation Into IRS Political Targeting, Won't Charge Lois Lerner

The tax agency acted incompetently, but not illegally.



Lois Lerner is off the hook.

The former Internal Revenue Service staffer, who for the last two years has been at the center of an investigation into whether the tax agency improperly targeted conservative political groups for extra scrutiny, won't be charged, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said in a letter today, according to CNN. And neither will anyone else. 

The letter, signed by Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik, declares that the DOJ "found no evidence that any IRS official acted based on political, discriminatory, corrupt, or other inappropriate motives that would support a criminal prosecution."

Instead, CNN reports, the DOJ concluded that IRS officials are guilty of mismanagement that made it look as if there was political targeting:

The IRS mishandled the processing of tax-exempt applications in a manner that disproportionately impacted applicants affiliated with the tea party and similar groups, leaving the appearance that the IRS's conduct was motivated by political, discriminatory, corrupt, or other inappropriate motive.

A March 2014 report by Republicans on the House Oversight Committee strongly suggested that there was political targeting at the agency, and that Lerner was involved and aware of it. But in this case it looks like incompetence will substitute for illegality. 

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  1. In b 4 Fist?

    Surprise, surprise, surprise…..

    1. This topic lacks any surprises and therefore doesn’t hold my interest.


    1. “I have had the underlings who do my bidding to review the corruption allegations against the other underlings doing my bidding and concluded that nothing inappropriate happened.”

  3. Not going to bother addressing illegally providing the White House with confidential taxpayer information, I guess…

    1. They didn’t address the times they did that for every other president since the IRS was founded, why start now?

      1. Well, as has been the case with a lot of Barry’s corruption, past administrations were usually less flagrant about it.

        1. What difference, at this point, does it make?

          1. You raise a valid point, sir. I concede

  4. They should prosecute Toby Miles

    1. Can they go after Toby Keith while they’re at it? I HATE that guy…

      1. But how do you like him now?

        1. *narrows gaze, with Hat Tip to Swiss*

  5. Just because there’s smoke, and heat, and flickering light, and a crackling sound, and the smell of something burning, doesn’t mean there’s a fire.

    1. “Ce n’est pas un feu…”

    2. And if you see some lady screaming “Save my baby! She’s in that burning building!”, well, she is probably just some tea party nutjob who thinks Obama is from Kenya.

  6. Peter Kadzik isn’t incompetent. He’s corrupt.

  7. “Incompetence, not illegality, in other words.”

    How do the know it was just incompetence? There is direct evidence that she was keeping team correspondence off systems that had audit trails and archives built in. And, People don’t usually plead the 5th over incompetence. But beyond that, there is absolutely zero accountability in the federal government. They say she was incompetent. OK, I’ll buy that. But why would you allow someone so incompetent to retire with full benefits. I’m sure fear of an early retirement with full benefits will make her replacement try really, really hard not to be so incompetent.

    1. Except that it wasn’t incompetence. Lerner operated on personal email accounts and fake email accounts, including one in the name of her dog, the existence of which was never disclosed until the investigators accidentally stumbled upon them. She was transmitting confidential information to the White House and communicating with higher-ups the Washington office on a regular basis, something that the EO branch in Cleveland had no business doing. And she destroyed evidence.

      1. Honestly, I could probably get away with the whole “conducting illegal business on systems I’m not supposed to conduct any business, legal or otherwise” on because I’m a lowly peon in a huge system. But, should I do anything that gets me investigated I’d be fried FOR THAT in addition to whatever it was I did that got me investigated in the first place.

        1. Could you create a government email account in the name of your dog and conduct business under that, then fail to disclose its existence to TIGTA or DOJ during the course of a three-year investigation?

      2. Yea, I think it was intentional too. There is no doubt in my mind actually. But, if you are going to say that it was incompetence and not illegal activity, shouldn’t there be some kind of consequence for the incompetence?

        1. Of course there should. This is DC. So the consequence needs to be a much bigger budget and a few more 100k internal oversight analysts to write better procedure manuals

          1. Actually, under normal prosecution standards this would be the sort of thing used as prima-facia evidence of the mens rea portion of a crime. Nothing shows a guilty mind like conspiring among multiple people to conceal the conduct.

            Of course, under normal Federal prosecution standards this kind of coordinated effort to avoid detection is not wasted on simple mens rea of some other crime, it is used as primary evidence of a criminal conspiracy under RICO. People have definitely gone away for much less than what the DOJ cites here as evidence of incompetence.

            Further evidence of the lack of seriousness of the probe is the absence of any “Scooter Libby” prosecutions. Remember the guy who was targeted by the investigation after they had learned the identity of the leaker and had determined that no crime had actually been committed? The guy who they prosecuted to within an inch of his life over statements that supposedly briefly delayed an investigation that was already completed into a crime that was already determined not to be a crime?

            If they had not been fairly determined to whitewash the whole thing they’d at least have one fig-leaf scalp to go after. Federal prosecutors just don’t put this kind of time into anything without putting someone in jail at some point. It simply isn’t done. Not unless you know you are on the right side of things career-wise.

            1. Hopefully some organizations like Citizens United or FreedomWorks will start filing FOIA request for documents related to the investigation. I would assume that it’s public now that their investigation is closed. It’s seems those are the only guys interested in getting info out of the government anymore. The press certainly doesn’t seem interested in digging deeper than government press releases.

      3. Sounds like a regular Tuesday in May with this administration

  8. And it’s…it’s…naked statism for the win!

    Don’t worry guys, we’ll get Hilary for Benghazi and Holder for supplying weapons to drug cartels.

    Oh wait, never mind...

    1. Can we at least get Hillary for conducting official business on a private email server?

  9. I’m sure if I don’t pay my taxes for a few years, then lie about it under oath numerous times, then get blatantly caught hiding evidence and covering my tracks, that the IRS would regard my actions as incompetent, not illegal.

    1. Were you doing so in order to harass the enemies of Barack H. Christ, our Lord and Savior, and further his glorious re-election?

      1. “Barack H Christ”

        Well that’s just good. You’re alright Mr. o-Matic.

        1. Approval at last! Huzzah!

    2. They would regard you as incompetent and prosecute you anyway. Laws that apply to civilian taxpayers are strict liability, while laws applying to public servants require mens rea.

  10. Forget it Jake, its IRS-Town.

  11. So they’ve admitted a level of incompetence that bars them from holding high positions in government. Check.

    1. Yeah. Just like Hillary yesterday…

  12. Sooo looking forward to all the ridiculous fb posts and news articles about how we can finally put this fake scandal to rest.

    Even though if you or I destroyed evidence in the middle of an ongoing investigation we’d be headed to the big house. Yay naked corruption!

    1. The lesson I take away from all this is that evidence destruction is okay as long as you have friends in high places claim it was an accident.

  13. This is my surprised face. -_-

    Do I not look surprised?

    1. 😐

        1. son of a bitch my dickhead was mistaken for HTML code. this is problematic.

          1. You get that a lot, i bet.

              1. You’d be more popular with the ladies if you’d remember to close your tags.

              2. Man, your balls are small. Sorry for noticing.

                1. PS

                  *notes Free Soc must be a Loud Monkey?*

                  1. Loud Monkey?

                    That’s one for the Official Hit’n’Run Lexicon.

                    1. I already gave you a tearful gaze, what more do you want from me? If you need me, I’ll be locked in the bathroom staring at my headless dick and tiny balls.

                    2. Along with tiny balls, you only used 5 equal signs. That’s really, really sad. You have a small headless dick with tiny balls.

                      I’ll go get you a roll of paper towels for your tears.

  14. It was incompetence that just happened to affect the opposite political side and was the product of a fanatical career partisan. It is just one of those amazing coincidences that Lerner’s incompetence harmed only people whom she disagreed with.

    Lets not forget this is the same DOJ that is routinely been found guilty of fraud before courts in efforts to obtain convictions.

    1. Those prosecutors are just doing their government job, so how could they possibly be guilty of a crime? DIDN’T THINK OF THAT ONE DID YOU SMARTY PANTS !?!?!?!?!

  15. Lois Lerner will not face charges in Department of Justice investigation

    In its letter Friday the Justice Department specifically cleared Ms. Lerner, a senior executive in charge of approving the groups’ applications, who had authored a number of emails that suggested a bias against the tea party movement.

    Investigators said none of the witnesses they interviewed believed Ms. Lerner acted out of political motives, and said that Ms. Lerner seemed to try to correct the inappropriate scrutiny once she “recognized that it was wrong.”

    They couldn’t find one witness to say that any of this was politically motivated. Sounds legit, what fools we were to think it.

    1. once she “recognized that it was wrong.”

      So she didn’t know she couldn’t do that? That doesn’t even make any sense.

      1. and said that Ms. Lerner seemed to try to correct the inappropriate scrutiny once she “recognized that it was wrong.”

        If by “correct” you mean “cover up” and by “inappropriate” you mean “illegal” and by “recognized” you mean caught red-handed. Then yes, that makes perfect sense.

        1. That’s the kind of excuse that works if something is going on for a while and then brought to your attention. This is something that was loudly and publicly protested for years before any such theoretical Road to Damascus conversion. Some of these groups’ protests about their applications went on for longer than any of the comparable Democrat groups’ entire application process. It is just stupid to claim such a thing as “tried to correct… once she recognized…” Just dumb. Everyone who is pretending that any of this is a real investigation with real findings is selling something.

      2. I’m reminded of that old saying, ignorance of the law is no excuse. Unless you work for the Fed I guess.

    2. Ms. Lerner seemed to try to correct the inappropriate scrutiny once she “recognized that it was wrong.”

      If Lerner had the discretion, then how was it inappropriate scrutiny, and if she did not have the discretion, then how did she not know it was wrong?

      DOJ is talking in circles.

  16. It’s good to be a Democrat isn’t it…you can lie, cheat, steal and be as corrupt as you want to be and you are untouchable….I tell the careful what you wish for as you now have set a precedent and when the other side does exactly the same thing you won’t have a leg to stand on or be able to complain about one thing…


    2. What are you talking about? The Democrats will be in power FOREVER!

    3. The only precedent set is that the Democrats will continue to get away with it. I mean Bush and his administration took a beating for firing some US attorneys, which is totally within his purview and Democrats lost their fucking minds that some DOJ emails were “lost” because of improper storage. The real crime as the Democrats saw it, was that a Republican president was making the DOJ less of a Democrat Party dominated bureaucracy, and they just can’t have that.

    4. I tell the careful what you wish for as you now have set a precedent and when the other side does exactly the same thing you won’t have a leg to stand on or be able to complain about one thing…

      But that’s never stopped them. They know they have most of the media on their side, which is an attack dog when a Republican is in office but hibernates when a Democrat is.

  17. Subparman loves Lois Lerner.

  18. What else would you expect from a guy who, when elected, looked right into the camera and told us all that he was going to reward his friends and punish his enemies. The fuckstick was never anything but banana republic material.

    Fuck everyone who voted for him with one of these:…..r/p/86143/

    1. +1 “Elections have consequences!!”



    2. When the bank finally forecloses on your house, i hope the local revenuers beat ’em to auction over the unpaid property taxes.

    3. Yes we, you have no principles integrity or morality beyond power. Your name already told us that. You don’t need to constantly remind us.

    4. Re: American Stultified,


      And all during sessions of downloading of internet porn which extended for hours at a time. Ah, am I glad there’s a government! Who would build the ROADZ! if not?

    5. Actually, they weren’t doing their job, which is what this is all about in the first place. The Inspector General’s report admits as such. The DOJ just chooses to believe it was an accident.

    6. Your shtick has grown stale. Play another song, for fuck’s sake. The commentariat deserves better trolls.

  20. The tax agency acted incompetently, but not illegally.

    The water was wet, but it didn’t drown the victim

    The knife was pointy, but it didn’t stab the victim

  21. The tax agencyHillary Clinton acted incompetently, but not illegally.

    Coming to a bumper near you.

  22. This is one thing the Chinese get absolutely right. They execute public officials for corruption.

    I wonder how Tom Friedman feels about that.

    1. Well, we would actually have to convict officials of corruption for it to mean anything. And how often does that happen? Like once per year in each state?

      1. Well, only when a politician is dumb enough to piss off a more powerful politician, basically.

  23. When my actions harm no one, I can be fined, jailed, and even killed.

    When a government actor’s actions harm someone, there are no consequences.

    Liberals, why do you favor the powerful over the weak? Or are mid-level IRS bureaucrats poor little darlings who just can’t help themselves?

    1. Good time to point out that six of the top ten wealthiest counties in America are located in the DC area.

    2. Not to nitpick but, I’m going to nitpick. I hate the fact that progressives have appropriated the word liberal.

      Most of us on this blog are liberals, most democrats are unapologetic statists(most conservatives as well). There has been numerous occasions when people thought that by saying I was a libertarian that meant I was a liberal by today’s definition. That’s a damn shame. It’s a beautiful word when applied correctly.

      1. That was a couple of generations back. No self-respecting statist uses the word liberal any more. Reagan saw to that. This generation resurrected the “progressive” label to wash away the stain of the “liberal” curse word that Reagan created.

        Apparently none of them bothered to look into what the Progressives really stood for. Or maybe they just counted on the fact that nobody alive has much of a clue or a care that there ever was such a movement or that it is the direct ideological ancestor of the current movement.

        I remember when they started resurrecting the term over at Air America and thinking “really? They can’t be seriously bringing this back, can they?” As one in a long line of things about politics that I thought were impossibly stupid, this one is as good as any for pointing out that nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.

  24. Libertarian Moment!!! MOAR FREERRRR!!!!

  25. I hope she gets pancreatic cancer.

    1. +1 unwanted growth

  26. [T]he DOJ concluded that IRS officials are guilty of mismanagement that made it look as if there was political targeting

    “Keep up the harassment on conservative non-profits, Lewis, but don’t look like you’re keeping the harassment”
    “I don’t know – audit casual!”

    1. +1 How many more of these will we endure for the next two months?

      1. All of them.

  27. No alt-text and a whimpily written article that doesn’t call out Lerner for what she is – a petty tyrant and an enemy of freedom and liberty.

    Great work, Suderman. Your cocktail party invites aren’t in jeopardy. You must be proud of your vigilant defense of liberty.

    1. All Work and No Alt+Text Makes Restoras a Dull Boy
      All Work and No Alt+Text Makes Restoras a Dull Boy
      All Work and No Alt+Text Makes Restoras a Dull Boy
      All Work and No Alt+Text Makes Restoras a Dull Boy

      1. That’s pretty good. All it needs is a title. I’m think “All Work and No Alt+Text Makes Restoras….” something, something…

        1. Go Crazy? Don’t mind if I…wait, no….D’OH!

  28. the DOJ “found no evidence that any IRS official acted based on political, discriminatory, corrupt, or other inappropriate motives that would support a criminal prosecution.”

    That’s just a flat-out lie. It might not support a criminal conviction, but the Feds can prosecute for anything they can imagine.

    1. Worse than that… the widespread use of alternate forms of written communication to avoid open records act discovery would not only support the “inappropriate motives” needed for a criminal conviction, they would seal the deal.

      It is pretty basic: “Here’s the evidence that they discriminated against these groups… and over here is the evidence that they were covering up their conspiracy.”

      There’s not a federal prosecutor alive who wouldn’t go to court with that kind of evidence. That’s a guaranteed plea deal all day, every day.

  29. On a completely unrelated note, Home Depot has some good deals on woodchippers…

  30. The fucking balls on these guys.

    “Yeah, our incompetence just happened to target groups that opposed the current administration. Weird, right?”

  31. payroll at my last job was “incompetent” the same way. they kept making errors on my check that benefited them. so I fired my employer and found a new one.

  32. Back in the good old days, there would be a mass resignation by DOJ prosecutors, like in December 1977.

  33. When will Sarbanes Oxley apply to the people who made the law? When will stringent standards apply to the watchmen?

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