Republican lawmakers are petitioning the new attorney general, Loretta Lynch, to criminally prosecute former IRS official Lois Lerner over the agency's targeting scandal, having failed to convince her predecessor to do so.
According to The Hill
, 24 Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee sent a letter to Lynch
asking for her to take up the panel's 2014 request to charge Lerner for possible crimes.
The allegations include using her position at the agency to pursue heightened scrutiny of conservative groups; obstructing investigations by giving misleading information; and disclosing confidential taxpayer information, The Hill said.
Before former Attorney General Eric Holder stepped down from his post, House Speaker John Boehner was informed by the department that Lerner would not be prosecuted for refusing to testify at a congressional hearing.
The letter, which was circulated by the committee's chairman, Paul Ryan, also prompted statements of support from Boehner and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
"The American people deserve the truth as to how the IRS was used as a political tool to target and harass Americans for their beliefs. … It is outrageous that despite having evidence right at their fingertips, the DOJ has refused to investigate potential criminal acts taken by Lois Lerner at the IRS," Boehner said in a statement, according to The Hill.
"The administration's silence on this targeting might as well imply its consent of these abusive actions," the speaker continued. "I hope the new attorney general will take this investigation seriously. The American people deserve answers and to know that justice will be served."
Lerner had been the focus of a congressional investigation into the targeting scandal. She was placed on leave from the agency in May 2013 and retired four months later. She denied any wrongdoing but refused to testify before Congress.
Meanwhile, last month, news emerged that an inspector general at the Treasury recovered thousands of emails from Lerner
when she was at the IRS that were previously believed to have been lost after a computer crash.
Roughly 6,400 new emails were turned over to the congressional committees investigating the issue.
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