says official at centre of tea party scandal retiring; Lois Lerner
had been on paid leave
by The Canadian Press
- Story: 99066
Sep 24, 2013 / 2:28 pm
Photo: The Canadian Press
All rights reserved.
FILE - In this May 22, 2013 file photo, Lois Lerner, head of the IRS unit that decides whether to grant tax-exempt status to groups, listens on Capitol Hill in Washington.
, the official at the center of the agencyâ€™s tea party scandal is retiring.
Lerner headed the IRS division that handles applications for tax-exempt status when she was placed on paid leave in May.
was in charge, the agency acknowledged that agents improperly targeted tea party groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status from 2010 to 2012. (AP Photo/J.
Lois Lerner headed the IRS division that handles applications for tax-exempt status when she was placed on paid leave in May.
was in charge, the agency acknowledged that agents improperly targeted tea party groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status during the 2010 and 2012 elections.
first disclosed the targeting at a law conference in May, when she
was asked a planted question about IRS treatment of political groups.
Less than two weeks later, she
refused to answer questions at a congressional hearing, citing her
constitutional right not to incriminate herself.
A day after the hearing she
was placed on paid leave at the age of 62.
Lerner's retirement came as a review board was set to propose that she
be fired, said a statement by Rep.
Lerner is an attorney who joined the IRS in 2001.
In brief remarks before she invoked her right not to testify before the House Oversight committee, Lerner expressed pride in her 34-year career in federal government, which has included work at the Justice Department and Federal Election Commission.
As director of the exempt organizations division, she oversaw 900 workers and a budget approaching $100 million.
Lerner's revelation at the May 10 tax conference set off a firestorm at the agency.
President Barack Obama
forced the acting commissioner to resign and much of the agency's top leadership was replaced.
Three congressional committees and the Justice Department
"Just because Lois Lerner is retiring from the IRS does not mean the investigation is over.
Lerner initially said the targeting was limited to agents working in a Cincinnati office that handled applications for tax-exempt status.
Congressional investigations have since discovered evidence that IRS supervisors in Washington were aware that tea party applications were being delayed for years in some cases while the groups endured sometimes burdensome scrutiny.
However, investigators have released no evidence showing that anyone outside the IRS
ordered the targeting or knew it was happening.
Levin said Lerner
is "being held responsible for her gross mismanagement of the IRS
tax-exempt division, which led to improper handling of applications for tax-exempt status, whether conservative and progressive."