A new report from Judicial Watch reveals what conservatives and Tea Party members have suspected or known for a long time: Sen. John McCain’s office was heavily involved in urging the IRS under Lois Lerner to target conservative anti-Establishment Republican and political advocacy groups, especially tea party organizations.
After many years of delays the truth has finally come out from extensive Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests Judicial Watch filed. As a result, it obtained several key emails from 2013 that chronicle McCain’s and Democrat Sen. Carl Levin’s efforts to censor, target, curtail and stop the conservative and libertarian advocacy groups that emerged after the Supreme Court ruled on the Citizens United case.
Included in the documents are notes from a “high-level meeting” on April 30, 2013 between powerful high level staffers of McCain, Levin, and Lerner and other high-ranking IRS officials. They reveal that McCain’s former staff director and chief counsel on the Senate Homeland Security Permanent Subcommittee, Henry Kerner, urged Lerner to “use IRS audits on the advocacy groups to financially ruin them.”
Judicial Watch announced that it obtained internal IRS documents evidencing that Kerner urged top IRS officials, including then-director of exempt organizations Lois Lerner, to “audit so many that it becomes financially ruinous.”
Ten days after the meeting, Lerner admitted that the IRS had a policy of “improperly and deliberately delaying applications for tax-exempt status from conservative non-profit groups.”
Judicial Watch reports:
Lerner and other IRS officials met with select top staffers from the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee in a “marathon” meeting to discuss concerns raised by both Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) that the IRS was not reining in political advocacy groups in response to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Senator McCain had been the chief sponsor of the McCain-Feingold Act and called the Citizens United decision, which overturned portions of the Act, one of the “worst decisions I have ever seen.”
Kerner was appointed by President Trump as Special Counsel for the United States Office of Special Counsel. He has not yet been fired, as he obviously should be.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said,
“The Obama IRS scandal is bipartisan – McCain and Democrats who wanted to regulate political speech lost at the Supreme Court, so they sought to use the IRS to harass innocent Americans. 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.”