By ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER EDITORIAL
Four months ago, Loretta Lynch was sworn in as U.S. attorney general, replacing the feckless Eric Holder.
We think that’s more than sufficient time for Ms. Lynch to have completed her onboarding. The no-longer-new AG should get on with the business Mr. Holder left in her inbox.
That includes, first and foremost, the long-awaited decision as to whether the Justice Department will bring criminal charges against IRS employees who targeted Tea Party and other preponderantly conservative nonprofit groups for inordinate scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status.
In March 2013, Mr. Holder announced that he was opening a criminal investigation of what seemed to us an obvious abuse of power by a politically motivated IRS staff – most notably, Lois Lerner, who was at the time director of the agency’s Exempt Organizations Division.
Well, 29 months have passed, and the Justice Department hasn’t brought closure to its IRS investigation.
If we didn’t know better, we’d suspect that senior Justice officials are intentionally stalling, delaying a decision on prosecuting Ms. Lerner and others complicit in the IRS scandal until President Obama is safely out of office.
Perhaps we perceive a cover-up where none exists. The best way for Attorney General Lynch to disabuse us of that notion – along with the millions of Americans who think something rotten at 950 Pennsylvania Ave. (Justice Department headquarters) – is to announce whether Ms. Lerner, et al. will be prosecuted.
Indeed, we think there is ample evidence to indict Ms. Lerner, who has acknowledged “absolutely inappropriate” actions by her division, while casting blame upon low-level “front-line people” who worked for her.
But it seems Ms. Lerner was at the center of the scandal. Just this past week, in fact, we learned that she had a secret email account at IRS – named after her dog, “Toby Miles” – which she used to conduct official government business.
Maybe Ms. Lerner used her Toby Miles account to send innocuous emails concerning yoga routines, family vacations or wedding arrangements (as Hillary Clinton claims about her secret email account). Or maybe she used it to secretly coordinate her division’s targeting of right-of-center political groups.
Whatever the case may be, the Justice Department needs to stop stalling and get to the bottom of the IRS scandal.