The Corner

Lois Lerner Ignored Millions in Misreported Political Spending by Unions

In case further evidence was needed that Lois Lerner, former director of the IRS Exempt Organizations department, may have been a bit biased in her enforcement of the IRS’s responsibilities, in 2007 she seems to have largely ignored claims that labor unions were not reporting millions of dollars in political spending.

According to documents obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation, several unions reported vastly different quantities of political spending with the IRS and the Department of Labor. Lerner e-mailed a reply to the complainants saying that there was no evidence of misreported expenditures. There certainly seems to have been. The Daily Caller explains:

In 2006, the year leading up to Lerner’s email, the national headquarters for the AFL-CIO reported no direct or indirect political expenditures with the IRS on their 990 form, leaving the line 81a blank. That same year, the AFL-CIO reported $29,585,661 in political activities with the Department of Labor.

Also in 2006 the Teamsters Union reported no political expenditures with the IRS while at the same time reporting $7,081,965 with the Labor Department.

Again in 2006, Unite-Here reported no political activity with the IRS and $1,451,002 with the Labor Department.

In 2005, the National Education Association also reported no political expenditures with the IRS while at the same time reporting $24,985,250 with the Labor Department.

Lerner claimed that differences in reporting requirements between the two government agencies could account for the discrepancies. “Having said that,” she acknowledged, “we did see some instances that raised concerns and we referred that information to our Dallas office to determine whether examination is warranted.” The Dallas office does not appear to have inquired further, according to today’s report.

Ian Tuttle — Ian Tuttle is the former Thomas L. Rhodes Journalism Fellow at the National Review Institute.

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