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Top IRS Official Resigns over Tea Party Tax Scrutiny Scandal

 Posted on September 27, 2013 in Tax Audits

The Internal Revenue Service has, for weeks now, been embroiled in a controversy that alleged that some of its top officials were involved in unfair scrutiny of Tea Party groups in tax matters. Lori Lerner, the official who was the subject of an investigation into the matter by Congress, recently retired.

The Internal Revenue Service recently released a statement, saying that Lerner has retired, effective immediately. Lerner served as the agency's former director of exempt organizations.

Since May, she had been placed on administration leave. An internal agency board was soon due to begin the process of firing her, based on breach of duties and mismanagement.

Lerner was in charge of that wing of the agency that is responsible for reviewing applications from groups claiming tax exemption. In 2010, however the office under Lerner began targeting some groups for further scrutiny in tax-related matters, based on whether they had the words "Tea Party" as part of their names.

Early this year, Lerner disclosed the truth, and apologized for her actions. The disclosure that the agency was specifically targeting Tea Party groups, has led to a widespread scandal, and invited criticism by Republicans. It also led to congressional investigations. The Justice Department also got involved, and conducted a criminal probe.

Lerner's fate was sealed in June earlier this year when the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted to determine that she waived her right against self-incrimination by making a statement, admitting to her actions.

However, her exit from the Internal Revenue Service has not exactly quieted the criticism against the Internal Revenue Service. Lawmakers remain critical of the agency's actions. Several Republican lawmakers have vowed that they will continue with the task of investigating the agency, and will even proceed with questioning Lerner, if necessary.

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