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The IRS scandal: Is a shocking new email the smoking cannon?

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Thursday, July 10, 2014, 8:55 p.m.

Whether or not it is the smoking cannon of the IRS scandal remains to be seen. But new revelations, ones that keep coming out in dribs and drabs, suggest that Lois Lerner might have conspired to obstruct justice in her agency's efforts to improperly target conservative opponents of the Obama administration.

Ms. Lerner is the former head of the IRS's Exempt Organizations division. Conservative groups appear to have been singled out to have their First Amendment rights quashed. And a new email released this week shows that, just as the targeting scandal was going public, she warned staffers “to be cautious about what we say in emails” because those communications could end up before Congress.

Worse, the email, dated April 9, 2013, suggests that the IRS thought it could employ instant messaging as an end around to subvert open-records laws.

Couple this new development with the IRS's fantastical claims of hard-drive crashes that just happened to befall principals of this scandal, crashes that conveniently parallel the scandal's timeline, and the stench now is overbearing. Thus, a scandal that long ago cried out for the appointment of a special prosecutor now is screaming at the top of its lungs. And failing to investigate an IRS (now under a federal judge's order to come clean) that appears to be the definition of a corrupt criminal enterprise can only lead reasonable people to conclude that the enterprise is not limited to the IRS.

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