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The IRS scandal: The gun smokes

| Monday, April 21, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Were they simply discussions of procedural matters in advance of prospective legal action against bona fide rules violations? Or are those discussions evidence of a federal conspiracy hatched by Democrats to silence conservative critics?

Shockingly, emails obtained by Judicial Watch more than suggest the latter and that the gun smokes.

The Internal Revenue Service first attempted to silence conservative groups by slow-walking or outright sitting on their applications for tax-exempt nonprofit status. Invocations of the Fifth Amendment to avoid self-incrimination raised that red flag high with Lois Lerner, once the chief of the IRS's nonprofit division.

But now come emails obtained by the watchdog group showing an attempt to coordinate the selective harassment of conservative groups, based on a legally thin claim that they had lied on their applications. The idea appears to have had its genesis with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., but was entertained by the IRS, the Justice Department and the Federal Election Commission.

The feds considered prosecuting groups based not on any real violations of the law but on their political persuasions.

“These new emails show that the day before she broke the news of the IRS scandal, Lois Lerner was talking to a top Obama Justice Department official about whether the DOJ could prosecute the very same organizations that the IRS had already improperly targeted,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

No one can doubt any longer that this case requires a special prosecutor.

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