CHICAGO – The IRS scandal may have its roots in Illinois politics. Specifically, the 1996 U.S. Senate race between then-Democrat Congressman Dick Durbin and conservative Republican State Rep. Al Salvi.
More than a decade before his 2010 letter to IRS officials urging the agency to target conservative organizations, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin’s political career crossed paths with Ms. Lerner when she was head of the Enforcement Division of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), and directly involved in the 1996 Illinois U.S. Senate race.
Soon after the IRS story broke, Al Salvi told Illinois Review that it was IRS official Lois Lerner who represented the FEC in a Democrat complaint against him. According to Salvi, Lerner was, without question, politically motivated, and went so far as to make him an offer: “Promise me you will never run for office again, and we’ll drop this case.”
Salvi declined her offer, and ran for Illinois Secretary of State in 1998.
But when he saw Lerner plead the Fifth Amendment before Congress last week, he recognized her. “That’s the woman,” Salvi said. “And I didn’t plead the Fifth like she did.”
In 2000, a federal judge dismissed the FEC case against him, clearing Salvi’s name and reputation.
Now with the revelations about Lerner, the IRS, and the intriguing connection to Durbin, Salvi shared with Illinois Review his experience with Lois Lerner.