Special Counsel Jack Smith tried to find ways to target conservatives during the Obama-IRS scandal
House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-OH) said Sunday that Special Counsel Jack Smith tried to find ways to target conservative organizations during the Obama-IRS era scandal. .
Jordan told Fox Business on Sunday that he and Rep. Darrell Issa’s (R-CA) 2014 report examining the IRS’ targeting of tax-exempt conservative organizations have potentially troubling background for the special counsel’s investigation into former President Donald Trump.
The interview follows Attorney General Merrick Garland’s appointment of Jack Smith as special counsel to investigate alleged wrongdoing by former President Donald Trump after the FBI raided Trump’s home in Mar -a-Lago.
He asked rhetorically, “Guess who was the lead person at the Justice Department looking for ways to target and prosecute the very people who were looking into who was going after Lois Lerner? Jack Smith, the guy Merrick Garland just appointed as special counsel to prosecute President Trump.
Indeed, in September 2010 – Smith, then head of the Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section, Criminal Division – sent an email to his senior management regarding a New York Times article about conservative organizations:
Check [the] New York Times front page story [sic] regarding the misuse of non-profit organizations to indirectly fund campaigns. It seems obvious to me – could we ever charge a [18 U.S.C. §] 371 conspiracy to violate the laws of the United States for the misuse of these nonprofit organizations to circumvent existing campaign finance laws + limits? I know 501s are legal, but what if they knowingly use them beyond what they’re authorized to use them for (and we could factually prove it)? Sarah Ingram, IRS Commissioner [sic] oversees these groups. Let’s discuss it tomorrow but maybe we should try to arrange a meeting this week. [Emphasis added]
The House Republican report noted that Smith then called meetings on a “possible 501(k) investigation/fundraising campaign”:
Smith called meetings on a “possible 501/campaign finance investigation.” committing with Lerner to be “more alert to opportunities for more criminality in the . . . 501(c)(4).”803 He also sought to better understand the “practical aspects” of the criminal application of the nonprofit political speech, for example whether the IRS could review the donor lists of 501(c)(4) organizations for possible violations of campaign finance law.804 Similarly, the IRS sought to “walk [the Justice Department] through the basic civil rules within [the IRS’s] competence and know what they are looking for, if any. . . . They are not tax specialists [Lerner] can also take [IRS employee] Joe Urban needs to make clear perimeters on tax information if they want to fish 6103 (as opposed to public record 6104 information).
In an October 2010 meeting, attorneys for the Public Integrity Section, of which Smith was section head, “expressed concern that some 501(c) organizations [conservative organizations] are in fact political committees that “present themselves” as if they were not subject to the FEC law”, and could therefore be subject to “criminal liability”.
Trump said last week that he would not participate in the special counsel’s investigation.