Official at the center of IRS scandal to retire

Lois Lerner

Lois Lerner, the official at the center of congressional inquiries into the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups, has retired, according to a statement released by the agency:

Lois Lerner, the Internal Revenue Service official investigated by Congress over the agency’s scrutiny of Tea Party groups, has retired effective today, the agency said in a statement.

Lerner, the tax agency’s former director of exempt organizations, was placed on paid administrative leave earlier this year. Last week, acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel told a congressional panel that Lerner was “technically still employed.”

The agency declined further comment, citing privacy concerns.

Refusing to resign over her alleged role in the scandal, Lerner was instead placed on paid administrative leave in May, just after she invoked her Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate herself in a hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Republicans on the committee believe that Lerner waived her rights by declaring her innocence before invoking the Fifth Amendment.

Lerner, who some believe has lied to Congress about the scandal, wanted an immunity deal before she would agree to appear again before the House Oversight Committee.

While Lerner initially claimed that the rogue agents in the Cincinnati IRS office were responsible for the targeting of conservative groups, it has been revealed that senior agency officials in Washington were aware of it. Just last week, the Wall Street Journal reported on emails sent by Lerner indicated that she was aware of the targeting earlier than she had previously said.

The bad news is that Lerner will likely be entitled to taxpayer-funded retirement. The good news is her retirement won’t stop members of Congress who are taking the IRS scandal seriously from investigating her and her role in the sordid mess.

To learn more about the IRS scandal and Lerner’s role, check out the Center for Responsive Politics handy interactive timelime, which shows important details and information about the targeting of Americans who were simply trying to take part in the political debate and discussion in their communities.

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