(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today released new internal Department of Justice (DOJ) documents revealing that the Internal Revenue Service Office of Chief Counsel’s office delayed approval of an IRS employee’s meeting with DOJ and FBI investigators into the Obama IRS targeting scandal. The emails also detail the involvement the Public Integrity Section of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division with the investigation. The documents show, the Public Integrity Section was investigating the IRS scandal only a month after it reached out to Lois Lerner about prosecuting targeted tax-exempt entities. This is the first window into the criminal investigation of the alleged IRS abuses.
The Public Integrity Section previously has been tied to an effort to work with the Obama IRS in an effort to prosecute the very groups and individuals critical of the Obama administration and the president’s reelection that the IRS has admitted to illicitly targeting.
The new documents were released by the DOJ as result of a court order in Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 14-cv-01239)). The lawsuit was filed after the DOJ failed to respond to a FOIA request seeking:
Any and all records concerning meetings and/or communications between the Department of Justice Criminal Division Public Integrity Section and the Internal Revenue Service Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division, the White House, Members of Congress and/or congressional staff, and any non-government entity, regarding 501(c)(4) or other tax-exempt organizations.
The emails show that, on June 12, 2013, the lawyer for a cooperating IRS employee in Cincinnati complained to a DOJ prosecutor about the IRS Counsel’s office delaying approval of a meeting between the IRS employee and Justice Department prosecutors: “[W]e find it amazing that they didn’t immediately respond giving us the green light to meet with you.”
The DOJ prosecutor wanted to know who the contact in the IRS Counsel’s office was and wrote back: “Let’s talk in am if they don’t get back to you. Thanks.”
The new emails suggest that investigators had wanted to meet quickly but it was nearly a month before the unnamed IRS employee met to proffer evidence to two Justice Department prosecutors, two FBI officials, and an investigator from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
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