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IRS Abuse: Committee Seeks DOJ Update on Lerner Criminal Referral

May 28, 2015

WASHINGTON — Today, Republican members of the House Ways and Means Committee sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch inquiring about the status of the committee’s criminal referral of Lois Lerner to the Department of Justice. In March of this year, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia wrote a letter to Speaker Boehner saying the office would not prosecute Lerner for contempt of Congress for her refusal to testify. The letter to the Speaker, however, was silent on the criminal referral of Ms. Lerner issued last year by Ways and Means under Chairman Camp. The following letter requests a DOJ update on the status of this criminal referral:

The Honorable Loretta Lynch
Attorney General
United States Department of Justice
Washington, D.C. 20530

Dear Attorney General Lynch:

As Members of the House Ways and Means Committee we are writing to inquire about the status of the Committee’s April 9, 2014 referral of Lois Lerner to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution as supplemented July 30, 2014. See attachments.

On March 31, 2015, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Ronald Machen, wrote U.S. House Speaker John Boehner stating that the U.S. Attorney’s office would not prosecute Lois Lerner for contempt of Congress based on her refusal to testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, despite offering a brief opening statement before asserting her Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. Mr. Machen’s letter responded to Speaker Boehner’s referral of Ms. Lerner of May 7, 2014.

Mr. Machen’s letter did not address the April 9, 2014, criminal referral of Ms. Lerner issued by the House Ways and Means Committee under my predecessor, Chairman David Camp.  In that referral, the Committee identified three specific acts undertaken by Ms. Lerner that may have violated one or more criminal statutes, including that:

Ms. Lerner used her position to improperly influence agency action against only conservative organizations, denying these groups due process and equal protection rights under the law.

Ms. Lerner impeded official investigations by providing misleading statements in response to questions from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

Ms. Lerner risked exposing, and may actually have disclosed, confidential taxpayer information, in apparent violation of Internal Revenue Code section 6103 by using her personal email to conduct official business.

The Committee continues to believe that these serious charges should be pursued by the Department of Justice.  We would appreciate receiving an update on the status of the referral as soon as possible.  Thank you for your assistance in this matter.


Republican Members of the Ways and Means Committee

Read the full letter to Attorney General Lynch here.