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March 12, 2014

House Panel Issues Report as it Builds Contempt Case Against Ex-IRS Official

A congressional committee investigating scrutiny of political organizations by the Internal Revenue Service released a lengthy report Tuesday accusing Lois Lerner, the former IRS chief for nonprofits, of targeting conservative groups, Bloomberg and The Washington Post write.

Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, is building a case for holding Ms. Lerner with contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions on the targeting issue and allegedly providing misleading information in congressional prior hearings. Ms. Lerner retired from the IRS in September 2013 after being placed on paid leave in connection with the scandal.

The committee's report includes emails indicating Ms. Lerner's growing concern from 2010 over political activity by tax-exempt 501(c)(4) groups and media criticism of lax IRS oversight of them. The emails include discussions of a project to ensure that nonprofit advocacy groups complied with tax law but do not explicitly call for a focus on conservative groups, according to the Post.