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Emails reveal IRS official Lois Lerner sought audit of GOP senator Charles Grassley



By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Congressional investigators say they uncovered emails Wednesday showing that a former Internal Revenue Service official at the heart of the tea party investigation sought an audit involving a Republican senator in 2012.

The emails show former IRS official Lois Lerner mistakenly received an invitation to an event that was meant to go to Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.

The event organizer apparently offered to pay for Grassley's wife to attend the event. In an email to another IRS official, Lerner suggests referring the matter for an audit, saying it might be inappropriate for the group to pay for his wife.

"Perhaps we should refer to exam?" Lerner wrote.

It was unclear from the emails whether Lerner was suggesting that Grassley or the group be audited - or both.

The other IRS official, Matthew Giuliano, waved her off, saying an audit would be premature because Grassley hadn't even accepted the invitation.

"It would be Grassley who would need to report the income," Giuliano said.

The name of the event organizer was blacked out on copies of the emails released by the House Ways and Means Committee because they were considered confidential taxpayer information. Grassley and his wife signed waivers allowing their names to be released.

In a statement, Grassley's office said the senator did not attend the event, and did not receive any invitation intended for Lerner.

"This kind of thing fuels the deep concerns many people have about political targeting by the IRS and by officials at the highest levels," Grassley said. "It's very troubling that a simple clerical mix-up could get a taxpayer immediately referred for an IRS exam without any due diligence from agency officials."

The IRS says it has lost an untold numbers of Lerner's emails because her computer crashed in 2011, sparking outrage among Republican lawmakers who have accused the tax agency of a cover-up. The emails released Wednesday were among the thousands that have been turned over to congressional investigators.

"We have seen a lot of unbelievable things in this investigation, but the fact that Lois Lerner attempted to initiate an apparently baseless IRS examination against a sitting Republican United States senator is shocking," Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said. "At every turn, Lerner was using the IRS as a tool for political purposes in defiance of taxpayer rights."

Lerner headed the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt status. The IRS has acknowledged that agents improperly scrutinized applications by tea party and other conservative groups before the 2010 and 2012 elections. Documents show that some liberal groups were singled out, too.

Grassley had been an outspoken critic of the way the IRS policed tax-exempt groups even before the tea party controversy erupted last year.

In one email, Lerner indicates that she won't attend the event.

"Don't think I want to be on the stage with Grassley on this issue," she wrote.

Ways and Means is one of three congressional committees investigating the way the IRS processed applications for tax-exempt status. The Justice Department is also investigating.

Also Wednesday, a group of Republican senators - including Grassley - said they want to expand a Senate investigation to look more closely at how the agency lost the emails.

Republican members of the Senate Finance Committee said they want know why the Treasury Department and the White House were told about the lost emails more than a month before Congress was told. They have asked committee chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., to schedule a hearing with IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

Wyden's office was noncommittal Wednesday, saying he hadn't seen the request.

The Republicans, led by Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, are also asking the Treasury and Justice departments, and the Federal Election Commission, to turn over any emails they might have from Lerner.

"The IRS' failure to inform the committee months or even weeks ago about the missing emails raises serious questions about its commitment to cooperate with this investigation," the letter said.

In testimony before a House panel this week, Koskinen said the IRS waited to tell Congress until officials knew the full extent of the email loss.

Koskinen said the Treasury Department has agreed to turn over emails it has from Lerner. The White House said last week it has found no emails between anyone in the executive office of the president and Lerner.

At the time of Lerner's computer crash in June 2011 the IRS had a policy of backing up emails on computer tapes, but the tapes were recycled every six months, Koskinen said. He said Lerner's hard drive was recycled and presumably destroyed.

The IRS was able to generate 24,000 Lerner emails from the 2009 to 2011 period because she had copied in other IRS employees. Overall, the IRS said it was producing a total of 67,000 emails to and from Lerner, covering the period from 2009 to 2013.

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Related on AOL.com:

Nation's top archivist says IRS 'did not follow the law'

IRS accused of losing emails in tea party probe

Congress holds Lerner in contempt

Join the discussion

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jcbstz June 25 2014 at 6:38 PM

Anyone who isn't smart enough to know that every department of this government is crooked, just needs to roll over and die of stupidity

Flag Reply +99 rate up
29 replies
MARTHA & PERRY June 25 2014 at 6:46 PM

time to dismantle the IRSS.

Flag Reply +99 rate up
10 replies
gorime June 25 2014 at 6:46 PM

What a bum Lois Lerner is. Used toilet paper has more integrity than Lerner!

Flag Reply +99 rate up
9 replies
fernandezarthr June 25 2014 at 6:44 PM

.....Throw the snake in jail for some years,....

Flag Reply +99 rate up
4 replies
wizardsking June 25 2014 at 6:40 PM

how long must this go on from the Obama administration before impeachment hearing are to take place? Enough is enough, he is getting away with everything, and impeading on our liberties.

Flag Reply +99 rate up
34 replies
PappyHappy June 25 2014 at 6:41 PM

It is time for Ms. Lerner to start trying on ORANGE JUMP SUITS. If Holder and Obama let this one slide, they both should be impeached -- if for nothing else, FAILURE TO CARRY OUT THE LAWS OF THE LAND, and flagrant dereliction of duty!

Flag Reply +99 rate up
22 replies
srnkurt June 25 2014 at 6:42 PM

Not even a "smidgen"......

Flag Reply +98 rate up
3 replies
Tim Meese June 25 2014 at 6:41 PM

This issue involving the IRS would have happened in either a Democratic or Republican administration. A top down review of the IRS should be conducted with at least several high ranking IRS officials being held criminally liable.

Flag Reply +86 rate up
31 replies
rmaierb June 25 2014 at 6:50 PM

Well, Imagine that. Something else crooked found. It never ends HUH...

Flag Reply +80 rate up
8 replies
MeritaBread June 25 2014 at 6:45 PM

Whoop-dee-doo! You mean to tell me that Republicans and T-partiers are immune from being investigated by the IRS during a Democratic administration? So does that mean that IF a Republican ever again wins the White House that Democrats will be exempt from IRS audits???? COOL!

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51 replies
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