On Friday, the Justice Department announced it was closing it’s investigation of former IRS official Lois Lerner and would not be filing any charges, chalking up the scandal instead to mismanagement.
However, the head of one of the grassroots organizations that endured unwarranted scrutiny by the IRS says the decision is simply more proof of a “lawless administration” that is making a “mockery” of justice.
On Friday, Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik, sent a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Virginia, and ranking Democrat John Conyers, D-Michigan.
“Our investigation uncovered substantial evidence of mismanagement, poor judgment and institutional inertia, leading to the belief by many tax-exempt applicants that the IRS targeted then based on their political viewpoints. But poor management is not a crime,” wrote Kadzik.
“We found no evidence that any IRS official acted based on political, discriminatory, corrupt, or other in appropriate motives that would support a criminal prosecution. We found no evidence that any official involved in the handling of tax-exempt applications or IRS leadership attempted to obstruct justice,” Kadzik continued.
“Based on the evidence developed in this investigation and the recommendation of experienced career prosecutors and supervising attorneys at the Department, we are closing our investigation and will not seek any criminal charges,” stated Kadzik.
True the Vote is one group that endured years of IRS harassment over its application for tax-exempt status. It’s president, Catherine Englebrecht, is disgusted but not surprised by the Justice Department’s announcement.
“This is a lawless administration. They write the rules and then play by those if they choose to follow. It is certainly not a surprise at all that they’ve chosen to try to wipe the slate clean of the IRS scandal, as they have so many other scandals,” said Englebrecht. “They don’t look to police themselves. They’re not interested in the better interests of their fellow countrymen. They’re interested in the survival of their party.”
According to Englebrecht, the refusal to prosecute is not only a slap in the face to her group and many others but to American justice at large.
“Justice in their hands is a mockery. This is an arrogant and corrupt administration that holds no justice for the American people. It is my great hope and prayer that the American people will reassert themselves, through their vote, to take back the reins of this country,” said Englebrecht.
Englebrecht also blasted the logic expressed by Kadzik, saying not only were crimes committed but there is a mountain of evidence proving it that Obama’s Justice Department ignored.
“I bet our organization alone submitted 500 documents or more that show clearly this was far more than ‘mismanagement.’ This was not only intentional targeting in an attempt to silence what they perceived to be a political threat, but, beyond that, there was collusion between the IRS and other branches of government. We have the documentation that proves it all,” said Englebrecht.
In the specific case of True the Vote, Englebrecht says there was obvious collusion between two critical figures in this scandal.
“The IRS was working closely with select Democrat congressmen, particularly in my instance Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland), who sought and received from Lois Lerner information, that when I requested it myself about me, came back redacted. So I can’t get the information that Lois and Elijah shared, but somehow that’s all excusable,” said Englebrecht.
She says other documentation proves the Justice Department was in on the collusion as well.
“Absolutely. The Department of Justice, those are the attorneys that are defending the IRS in court. The thought that they would be the ones to head up an investigation makes a mockery of the process,” said Englebrecht, who says the obvious decision should have been to appoint a special counsel to investigate that case but the Obama administration wanted no part of that.
“A special prosecutor should have been assigned to this at the outset and there is only one reason why that didn’t occur. They didn’t want the answers. If you don’t want the answers, you engineer the system to not ask the questions. That’s exactly what we’ve seen play out,” said Englebrecht.
Is this the end of the scandal? Englebrecht says no. True the Vote is taking the IRS to court, but suffered an early setback when a federal judge ruled True the Vote did get approved as a tax-exempt organization and getting to the bottom of the controversy would be impossible since Lerner’s emails had been destroyed. Since then, many emails have been recovered and Englebrecht hopes that will reinvigorate her legal options.
“That gave us an avenue for appeal. We are anxiously awaiting being heard by the court, hopefully in the first few months of 2016,” she said.
Englebrecht says this entire ordeal has been miserable. She says the greatest lesson learned is that she was right to speak out as the IRS closed in because the more she spoke the less power the federal government had to intimidate her.
She says the administration may think it has covered its tracks but she is confident the American people will have the last word.
“I think they are discounting too heavily that Americans will forget. I think Americans have had enough and I think that’s going to be reflected next November,” said Englebrecht.