Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

George Will: Court Ponders IRS Case

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

George Will: Court Ponders IRS Case

Article excerpt

Rep. Peter Roskam is chairman of the Ways and Means subcommittee whose jurisdiction includes oversight of the Internal Revenue Service, and hence of Lois Lerner's legacy. He knows how interesting her career was before she, as head of the IRS exempt-organizations division, directed the suppression of conservative advocacy groups by delaying and denying them the tax exempt status.

In 2013, Roskam told the story of Al Salvi, who in 1996 was the Republican's Senate candidate against then congressman, now senator, Dick Durbin. Democrats filed charges with the Federal Election Commission against Salvi's campaign. Salvi telephoned the head of the FEC's Enforcement Division, who he says told him: "Promise me you will never run for office again, and we'll drop this case." So said Lois Lerner. After Salvi lost, FBI agents visited his elderly mother, demanding to know, concerning her $2,000 contribution to her son's campaign, where she got "that kind of money." When a federal court held that the charges against Salvi were spurious, the FEC's losing lawyer was Lois Lerner.

Roskam's telling of Salvi's story elicited no denial from Lerner. With most of the media uninterested in the use of government institutions to handicap conservatives, stonewalling would work.

It still is working through dilatory and incomplete responses to subpoenas, and unresponsive answers to congressional questions. If the administration's stonewalling continues as the statute of limitations' clock ticks, Roskam says, "She will get away with it."

Roskam says, "The advantage in this town is always with the entity that doesn't want to do anything." Many thousands of Lerner's emails that supposedly were lost have been found, but not released. The Justice Department's investigation is a stone in the stone wall.

Roskam says the task now is "to see that Lois Lerner 2.0 is impossible." One place to begin is with the evidence -- anecdotal but convincing -- of other possibly punitive IRS behavior toward Republican contributors and conservative activists. …

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