The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee says investigators have uncovered evidence that a former Internal Revenue Service official may have committed crimes as part of the agency's tea party controversy.
Rep. Dave Camp set a committee vote for Wednesday on whether to refer Lois Lerner, who used to head the agency's tax-exempt division, to the Justice Department "for possible criminal prosecution."
The IRS' inspector general said in a report last year that tax-exempt applications from tea party and other conservative groups were set aside for special scrutiny simply because they included words such as "tea party" and "patriots." Several hundred applications, from both conservative and liberal groups, languished for years without a ruling by the IRS, the report said.
Lerner has emerged as a central figure in investigations by congressional committees. The House Oversight Committee has scheduled a vote for Thursday on whether to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions at two congressional hearings.
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