President Donald Trump’s administration said Friday it won’t seek charges against former IRS official Lois Lerner, who played a major role in the targeting of conservative organizations in 2010 and 2012.
In a letter to Congress, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd told House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) that reopening a criminal investigation into Lerner “would not be appropriate based on the available evidence.”
In a statement of his own, obtained by The Washington Post, Brady criticized the DOJ’s “terrible decision.”
“It sends the message that the same legal, ethical, and constitutional standards we all live by do not apply to Washington political appointees,” he said.
And Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) slammed the announcement as a “miscarriage of justice,” according to The Hill:
On top of Ms. Lerner’s actions against taxpayers — denying tax-exempt status to groups for political gain and failing to protect taxpayer information — the department’s response blatantly ignores our most troubling finding: that Ms. Lerner intentionally misled federal investigators in a flagrant violation of the law.
Our democracy is injured when those who taxpayers entrust with great authority ignore the law to advance their own political agenda without repercussion.
Lerner helmed the IRS divisions that oversaw tax-exempt groups when conservative nonprofits were more heavily scrutinized by the agency than other organizations.
The DOJ originally declined to prosecute Lerner in 2015, when then-President Barack Obama was in office. In April, Brady and Roskam asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reconsider, and now they have his answer.
Sessions's decision comes not long after a federal judge ordered the IRS to name who specifically was involved in the targeting of conservative groups. Though the DOJ has rebuffed the order, the court has given the agency until Oct. 16 to respond to the demand.