The IRS was advised to “audit so many that it becomes financially ruinous” under the Obama administration, according to recently released internal IRS documents.
The documents detail an April 30, 2013, meeting that took place shortly before former IRS director of exempt organizations Lois Lerner admitted that the agency had been deliberately delaying applications for tax-exempt status filed by conservative nonprofits.
Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, which obtained the documents through a Freedom of Information Act request, wrote in a press release that the auditing directive was given by Henry Kerner, the former staff director for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and chief counsel on the Senate Homeland Security Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.
The meeting was held between IRS officials, including Lerner, and top staffers from the Senate governmental affairs committee to discuss concerns “that the IRS was not reining in political advocacy groups in response to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.”
In the meeting notes, McCain’s high-ranking staffer Kerner “recommends harassing non-profit groups until they are unable to continue operating,” according to Judicial Watch.
“Kerner tells Lerner, Steve Miller, then chief of staff to IRS commissioner, Nikole Flax, and other IRS officials, ‘Maybe the solution is to audit so many that it is financially ruinous.’ In response, Lerner responded that ‘it is her job to oversee it all,'” the release says.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in the release, “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.”