This might be one reason she took the Fifth.
Lois Lerner, the IRS official who directed scrutiny of conservative non-profit organizations in the years leading up to President Obama’s re-election campaign, was also behind unusual IRS audits of five donors to one of those groups, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
According to the report Saturday, donors to a now-defunct group called Freedom’s Watch were hit with audits to force them to pay gift taxes on the donations in 2011. That was the first time in 20 years the IRS tried to collect a gift tax on donations to a tax-exempt group, according to the Journal.
Taxes on gifts were designed to make sure people couldn’t avoid estate taxes by giving everything away while they were still alive, according to the Journal.
Strictly speaking, they could apply to donations to tax-exempt groups, the Journal said.
But “strictly speaking” in the Obama IRS only means “when speaking about conservatives.” Conservative groups get scrutinized. Now, we learn their donors got audited.
The IRS division Lerner oversaw was completely separate from the group that did the gift-tax audits, but there’s no doubt from the Journal story whose office instigated them.
In response to questions in 2011 from Republican lawmakers about the gift-tax audits, recently bounced acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller said the unit in charge of gift-tax audits did not know the names of donors to tax-exempt organizations. Only Ms. Lerner’s office had that information, according to the Journal.
In addition, former IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman called the gift tax-audits the result of an “internal referral,” according to the Journal.
So, an “internal referral” came, and the only office with the information to make such a referral was Lerner’s.
Even Eric Holder could figure that one out.
Thanks to the Journal, we now know a lot more about Lerner using the powers of her office to police opponents of the Obama administration.
No wonder she took the Fifth.
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