We may now know why the FBI had predetermined that there wouldn’t be any charges filed in the IRS scandal. It turns out that the nation’s leading law enforcement agency may have been involved in the targeting of conservative groups.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) have uncovered new information indicating that the IRS sent 21 disks containing some 1.1 million confidential documents of tax-exempt groups to the FBI in October 2010, just weeks before the mid-term election:
Issa, who heads the oversight committee and Jordan, who chairs a subcommittee, said in a statement on Monday they sent a new letter to the IRS, demanding more information about the data sent to the FBI.
“At the very least, this information suggests that the IRS considered the political speech activities of nonprofits to be worthy of investigation by federal law-enforcement officials,” the letter states.
According to Issa and Jordan, the IRS apparently realizes it should not have sent the information to the FBI.
“After the Justice Department turned over the database to the Oversight Committee this month in response to a subpoena, the Justice Department says it was informed by IRS officials that it contains legally protected taxpayer information that should not have ever been sent to the FBI and it now plans to return the full database to the IRS,” a statement from the oversight committee said.
According to material obtained by the committee, the IRS sent the FBI “21 disks constituting a 1.1 million page database of information from 501(c)(4) tax exempt organizations, to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”
Issa and Jordan’s letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen can be read here (PDF). It includes emails between disgraced IRS official Lois Lerner and Richard Pilger, director of the Justice Department’s Election Crimes Division. Pilger’s name came up in the Lerner emails released in April by Judicial Watch.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) grilled FBI Director James Comey last month over the agency’s foot-dragging on the IRS scandal. The Texas conservative was unable to get answers on the most basic questions, including how many targeted organizations the FBI had interviewed or whether the agency had interviewed any White House employees.
The FBI’s involvement in the scandal further underscores the need for an independent investigation, something that Republicans have wanted since news of the targeting of conservative groups came to light. There’s no other way the IRS, Justice Department, and the FBI are going to get answers for those whom the federal government tried to silence.
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