IRS official ensnared in Tea Party targeting steps down

Updated

An IRS official near the center of allegations from the right that the agency improperly targeted conservative groups is retiring, according to the tax organization.

Lois Lerner was placed on paid leave in May from her job leading the IRS unit that handled applications for non-profit status. That came after the release of an internal agency report suggesting that the IRS singled out Tea Party groups and others on the right for special scrutiny.

Lerner had revealed the existence of the targeting at an industry meeting that month. On the advice of lawyers, she took the 5th to avoid testifying before Congress.

“I have not done anything wrong. I have not broken any laws,” she said in May. “I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations and I have not provided false information to this or any other congressional committee.”

Republicans in Congress suggested, without evidence, that the White House directed the targeting.

The story lost steam after it emerged that some progressive groups also had been targeted. And several of the Tea Party groups that drew scrutiny were heavily engaged in electoral politics.

IRS official ensnared in Tea Party targeting steps down

Updated