Back in April, Judicial Watch released documents showing IRS officials, including former head of tax exempt groups Lois Lerner, discussing the possibility of bringing criminal charges against tea party groups for engaging in “political activity.” In fact, the documents showed Lerner wanted to make an example out of someone with charges in order to chill all of the groups in the tea party movement.
“As I mentioned yesterday — there are several groups of folks from the FEC world that are pushing tax fraud prosecution for c4s who report they are not conducting political activity when they are (or these folks think they are). One is my ex-boss Larry Noble (former General Counsel at the FEC), who is now president of Americans for Campaign Reform. This is their latest push to shut these down. One IRS prosecution would make an impact and they wouldn’t feel so comfortable doing the stuff,” Lerner wrote in an email to staff. “So, don’t be fooled about how this is being articulated – it is ALL about 501(c)(4) orgs and political activity.”
Now according to a release from House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, Lerner had a database of tax exempt organizations sent to the FBI just before the 2010 midterm elections. That database included legally protected taxpayer information. Emails show Lerner and DOJ Election Crimes Branch official Richard Pilger discussing what format the FBI prefers when it comes to receiving information for their investigation.