Tags: IRS Scandal | lois lerner | irs | scandal | Ronald Machen | congress

Lois Lerner's Contempt Charge Awaits New US Attorney

Image: Lois Lerner's Contempt Charge Awaits New US Attorney
Former IRS official Lois Lerner. (Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 19 Mar 2015 08:48 AM

Ten months after Congress found former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt for her refusal to testify about her role in the agency's targeting of conservative groups, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia has not referred Lerner's case to a grand jury, The Hill reports.

U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen, appointed by President Barack Obama, is set to leave his post April 1 to return to private practice. Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, accuses Machen of allowing politics to taint his position and duties.

"Hopefully his replacement will do what's right and allow a grand jury to do its work," Jordan told The Hill. "The American people deserve to know the truth about the IRS targeting scandal, and Lois Lerner's testimony is key to uncovering that truth."

Though Machen promised to "carefully review" Lerner's case and "take whatever action is appropriate," the case has floundered.

Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday praised Machen as a "devoted public servant" and "a forceful champion of justice on behalf of the American people."

Holder did not mention the Lerner case.

"Throughout his remarkable tenure, Ron has applied his boundless talent and consummate judgment to protect the safety and security of all Americans in cases involving violent crime, national security threats and public corruption," Holder said.

In May, Congress voted 231 to 187 to find the former director of tax exempt organizations at the IRS in contempt. If charged and convicted, Lerner could face a fine of up to $100,000 and 11 years in prison, according to a 2014 Forbes report.

During two appearances before Congress, Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right to remain silent on the case.

In May 2013, Lerner admitted that the IRS had targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status, setting off a firestorm of controversy. She retired four months later and receives a full federal pension.

During an investigation into the allegations, the IRS initially told Congress that Lerner's emails were lost in a computer crash, and that no backup tapes existed. But in February, the Inspector General's Office said it had discovered backup tapes that may contain emails from a key period involved in the targeting scandal.

Lerner has been characterized by former colleagues as quick-tempered, "unapologetic," and "perhaps even tone-deaf when she says things that show her Democratic leanings," according to Politico, which reported last year that Lerner "may have intimidated co-workers."

The Washington Free Beacon reported that, in addition to her $177,000 annual government salary, Lerner received an annual 25 percent retention bonus from 2010 to 2013, adding an average of $43,000 a year to her pay.

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Ten months after Congress found former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt for her refusal to testify about her role in the agency's targeting of conservative groups, the retiring U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia has not referred Lerner's case to a grand jury, The Hill reports.
lois lerner, irs, scandal, Ronald Machen, congress
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2015-48-19
Thursday, 19 Mar 2015 08:48 AM
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