The Federal Election Commission’s lead member has called for an inspector general’s review to help determine whether the FEC coordinated with the Internal Revenue Service in targeting groups based on their political beliefs. FEC chairman Ellen L. Weintraub said her decision came in response to a request last week from Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.), the head of the House Administration Committee, who asked the agency to hand over all of its communications with the IRS since 2008. Reps. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and Charles Boustany (D-La.) made a similar request to acting IRS chief Daniel Werfel after publishing e-mails showing that Lois Lerner, the embattled former head of the agency’s exempt-organizations division, acknowledged possibly telling an FEC lawyer that a group did not appear on a publicly available list of tax-exempt groups. Federal law prohibits the IRS from releasing information about organizations that have been denied, but it can publish information about approved groups.
The FEC attorney wrote to Lerner on Feb. 3, 2009, saying she “told us that the American Future Fund had not received an exemption letter from the IRS.” He then asked whether the agency had issued an exemption letter to the group since his last contact with the IRS official.
“What can we do to help the FEC here?” Lerner asked other IRS employees in an e-mail. “I’m a little confused about his statement that I told him the org had not received exemption — it may be that they hadn’t mentioned it was a [501(c)(3)} and I told them the org didn’t show up on [the list of tax-exempt groups].”
Lerner’s attorney, William W. Taylor, insisted last week that his client had done nothing wrong by talking about whether a group appeared on the list.
Full Article: FEC chair requests probe of agency’s ties with IRS.