A new report released by Judicial Watch has revealed Sen. John McCain’s office played a key role in the IRS targeting of Conservative groups that included the TEA party.
Henry Kerner, who was McCain’s former staff director and chief counsel on the Senate Homeland Security Permanent Subcommittee, urged former IRS director Lois Lerner to “audit so many that it becomes financially ruinous.”
At the time of the April 2013 exchange, Lerner was serving as the director of exempt organizations for the IRS.
In a June 21 press release, Judicial Watch said Kerner met with several IRS officials, including Lerner and Steve Miller, then chief of staff to the IRS commissioner. Judicial Watch says they previously obtained notes from the April 2013 meeting that contained blacked out lines, but newly acquired documents revealed an un-redacted version of the IRS notes:
Henry Kerner asked how to get to the abuse of organizations claiming section 501 (c)(4) but designed to be primarily political. Lois Lerner said the system works, but not in real time. Henry Kerner noted that these organizations don’t disclose donors. Lois Lerner said that if they don’t meet the requirements, we can come in and revoke, but it doesn’t happen timely. Nan Marks said if the concern is that organizations engaging in this activity don’t disclose donors, then the system doesn’t work. Henry Kerner said that maybe the solution is to audit so many that it is financially ruinous. Nikole noted that we have budget constraints. Elise Bean suggested using the list of organizations that made independent expenditures. Lois Lerner said that it is her job to oversee it all, not just political campaign activity.
Less than two weeks after the April 2013 meeting, the IRS “had purposely discriminated against conservative tea party groups,” as reported by the Washington Times.
Prior to publishing the un-redacted notes, Sen. McCain denied his office was involved, issuing a statement denouncing “false reports claiming that his office was somehow involved in IRS targeting of conservative groups.”
In a separate report, Judicial Watch had previously revealed Lerner was pressured by Democrats in Congress and the Obama administration to “prosecute and jail the groups the IRS was already improperly targeting.”
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said “The Obama IRS scandal is not over – as Judicial Watch continues to uncover smoking gun documents that raise questions about how the Obama administration weaponized the IRS, the FEC, FBI, and DOJ to target the First Amendment rights of Americans.”