Special Counsel Investigating Trump Was Key Figure In IRS Targeting Scandal

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Jack Smith, the special counsel appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate former president Donald Trump’s possession of classified information, was a key figure in the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)’s infamous targeting of conservative non-profits, according to a 2014 report by Republicans on the House Oversight Committee. (See report PDF below)

On Oct. 8, 2010, Smith, then-Chief of the DOJ Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section at the time, called a meeting with former IRS official Lois Lerner “to discuss how the IRS could assist in the criminal enforcement of campaign-finance laws against politically active nonprofits,” according to testimony from Richard Pilger, then director of the section’s Election Crimes Branch and subordinate of Smith’s, to the Oversight Committee. Lerner eventually resigned from the IRS in 2015 following criticism of her targeting of conservative groups when denying or delaying tax-exempt status. (RELATED: Merrick Garland Announces Special Counsel For Mar-a-Lago, Jan. 6)

“This seems egregious to me – could we ever charge a [18 U.S.C. §] 371 conspiracy to violate laws of the USA for misuse of such non-profits to get around existing campaign finance laws + limits?,” Smith wrote in an email to colleagues, per the Oversight Committee report. His email suggested that the department investigate conservative non-profits that reportedly may have violated campaign finance laws, according to The New York Times.

The impetus for the meeting was President Barack Obama’s public criticism of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC, according to the report.

The IRS’s Targeting of Conservative TaxExempt Applicants: Report of Findings for the 113th Congress (See Page 173)


By Arjun Singh

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