House Republicans are calling on the Justice Department to investigate potential wrongdoing by ex-IRS official Lois Lerner after they uncovered a private email she sent in 2012 referring to fringe conservatives as “assholes.”
House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) said the emails reveal that Lerner harbored “deep animus to conservatives” and suggested it may be connected to the IRS’s targeting of nonprofit groups with conservative signifiers in their name.
In a Nov. 9, 2012 email to someone whose identity was redacted by the committee, Lerner says she heard some British women talk about how the United States has bankrupted itself.
Two minutes later the person responded:
Well, you should hear the whacko wing of the GOP. The US is through; too many foreigners sucking the teat; time to hunker down, buy ammo and food, and prepare for the end. The right wing radio shows are scary to listen to.
Fifteen minutes later, Lerner wrote back:
Great. Maybe we are through if there are that many assholes.
(The first three letters of “assholes” were redacted by the committee but a spokeswoman confirmed the original word.)
Two minutes after sending that email, Lerner received this response:
And I’m talking about the hosts of the shows. The callers are rabid.
And then she responded:
So we don’t need to worry about alien teRrorists. It’s our own crazies that will take us down.
Lerner was seemingly referring not to mainstream conservatives but to fringe elements of the party, which top Republicans themselves have criticized. Last year, for instance, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) called Rep. Steve King (R-IA) an “asshole” in a private conversation with a Democratic congressman over the Iowan’s offensive remarks about immigrants.
Camp said Lerner’s comments were a broader attack on conservatives.
“This email shows that Ms. Lerner’s mistreatment of conservative groups was driven by her personal hostility toward conservatives,” Camp wrote in a July 30 letter to Attorney General Eric Holder. “This new evidence clearly demonstrates why Mr. Lerner not only targeted conservatives, but denied such groups their rights to due process and equal protection under the law.”