The Trump Justice Department has decided not to prosecute Lois Lerner for her leading role in the IRS targeting scandal. The Obama Justice Department made that call in 2015, but House Republicans asked the Trump administration to take a fresh look.
Having done so, the Justice Department today notified members of Congress that it will not alter the Obama administration’s decision. In a letter to Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd stated that the department has “carefully reviewed” the 2015 decision not to prosecute, and had new attorneys independently review the investigation. He explained that to convict Lerner, it would be necessary to prove that she intentionally discriminated against the groups based on their political views.
To me, that doesn’t sound like such a heavy lift. But I’m not a prosecutor. I assume the Justice Department made its decision that it could not meet this standard in good faith, and that it had a sound basis for reaching its conclusion.
It’s one thing to denounce IRS targeting, as candidate Trump rightly did. It’s another to conclude that the evidence is sufficient to convict a particular individual involved in the targeting of violating the criminal law.
Rep. Brady, among others, is condemning the DOJ’s inability to conclude that there is sufficient evidence. But to my knowledge, they have not, as yet, explained why they believe the DOJ’s conclusion is wrong.