The Internal Revenue Service shared highly confidential tax information of several Tea Party groups in the IRS scandal with the Federal Election Commission, a clear violation of federal law, according to newly obtained emails.
The public watchdog group Judicial Watch told Secrets Thursday that it was former scandal boss Lois Lerner who shared the information on groups including the American Future Fund and the American Issues Project.
The emails obtained by Judicial Watch show that the IRS, which was considering the tax status of the groups, gave the FEC the tax returns of the groups, including income, expenditures and staff pay. The emails also revealed the exact working of the prying political questions the IRS wanted the groups to reveal, such as their goals and the requests for brochures and ads.
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The information, sent via email, to the FEC came in response to the organization’s questions about whether the IRS had granted tax-exempt status to the Tea Party groups. It is unclear how the information the IRS sent was going to help the FEC, since the IRS hadn’t determined the tax status of the groups yet.
The emails were produced to Judicial Watch last week by the FEC in response to an Aug. 9, 2013, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
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