Lois Lerner, the woman at the center of the IRS scandal, had a history of grossly inappropriate political and religious inquisitions in her previous job at the FEC. She ran a 6-1/2 year investigation/persecution of the Christian Coalition, that cost her target over hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal costs. She required 81 depositions, responses to nearly 2000 legal documents, and production of hundreds of thousands of pages of documents, many of which had to be found, by hand, in uncatalogued government warehouses. All of her massive fishing expedition produced nothing; in the end the Christian Coalition was cleared of any wrongdoing. But, as they say, the process itself is the punishment.
Most striking about the investigation was its inquisition into private religious activities, even going so far as to demand to know the contents of individuals’ prayers, a repetition of which we have seen in the current scandal.
In short, this woman should never have been in a position of public trust at all, much less a sensitive position such as head of tax-exempt organizations.
Looking back, the IRS press release announcing Lerner’s appointment is ironic:
“Lois is an integral part of the EO team and has successfully increased the IRS presence in the exempt community,” said Steven T. Miller, Commissioner of the IRS Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division, of which EO is a part. “Her integrity, skills and judgment are exceptional and will allow us to continue to provide improved service and enhanced enforcement of the tax laws.”
Increased the IRS presence in the exempt community? I’d say she has. Integrity and judgment? Not so much.
But, snark aside, this release points at another deeper problem: Why should the IRS be aiming to increase its presence in the first place? The IRS is a massive parasitical agency. At best it may be necessary, but it should always be trying to minimize its presence, not enhance it.