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Lois Lerner, key player in Tea Party targeting scandal, retiring
WASHINGTON – Lois Lerner, the IRS official at the heart of the scandal involving the targeting of Tea Party groups, is retiring.
“Since May, the IRS has taken decisive actions to correct failures in Exempt Organizations management, replacing top leadership throughout the chain of command,” the agency said in a written statement announcing her retirement. “In addition, IRS Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel created an Accountability Review Board to fully review information to ensure proper oversight in handling personnel issues.”
The announcement has not quieted calls for a thorough probe into the agency’s actions. It’s also not clear what kind of government-paid retirement benefits Lerner might be receiving.
“Just because Lois Lerner is retiring from the IRS does not mean the investigation is over. Far from it. In fact, there are many serious unanswered questions that must be addressed so we can get to the truth,” Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said in a written statement.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said: “Lois Lerner’s exit from the IRS does not alter the Oversight Committee’s interest in understanding why applicants for tax exempt status were targeted and inappropriately treated because of their political beliefs.”
“We still don’t know why Lois Lerner, as a senior IRS official, had such a personal interest in directing scrutiny and why she denied improper conduct to Congress. Her departure does not answer these questions or diminish the Committee’s interest in hearing her testimony,” he said. Lerner first disclosed the IRS targeting at a May 10 tax law conference.
Lerner then infamously refused to testify at a hearing before Issa’s committee, citing her constitutional right not to incriminate herself. Three congressional committees and the Department of Justice, though, launched investigations into the IRS and its actions.