Key Figure in IRS Scandal Retires After Months of Paid Leave

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 23 2013 5:16 PM

Key Figure in IRS Scandal Retires After Months of Paid Leave

Lois Lerner is retiring from the IRS, just four months after kicking off the scandal and a week after the drip-drip of House Republican investigations painted a picture of her as a bureaucrat looking for a good test case to change campaign finance law. Rep. Darrell Issa's response to the news sounds downright mournful.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.

We still don't know why Lois Lerner, as a senior IRS official, had such a personal interest in directing scrutiny and why she denied improper conduct to Congress. Her departure does not answer these questions or diminish the Committee's interest in hearing her testimony.
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Lerner was a target whose utility had barely been tapped by Republicans. Investigators looking into her work at the FEC were seeing a pattern of nosy good-government obsession with tax data. Her continued employment at the IRS was an easy rallying cry for conservatives, after the story had started to wane. But she's now going to be pilloried as a "former, disgraced" IRS director of nonprofit regulation.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.