This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," August 14, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Tonight, new evidence is emerging that a top official with the IRS used a personal e-mail account to cover her tracks while the embattled tax agency targeted conservatives. Now, this bombshell was revealed in a letter from the chairman of the House Oversight Committee to Lois Lerner -- remember her,
she pled the Fifth? -- who at this very hour remains on paid administrative leave.
Now, according to Congressman Darrell Issa, quote, "We have learned that you sent documents related to your official duties from your official IRS e-mail account to an MSN.com e-mail account labeled 'Lois home.'" Now, the letter goes on to read quote, "We write to request documents related to your official duties that are housed in non-official e-mail accounts."
In other words, Ms. Lerner needs to take a break from her taxpayer-funded vacation, hand over all of the e-mails that she's been hiding from Congressional investigators, and she needs to do so no later than 5:00 p.m. on August the 27th.
Joining me now with reaction is the man who has been leading this important investigation from the get-go, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, California Congressman Darrell Issa.
Congressman, welcome back. Good to see you.
REP. DARRELL ISSA, R-CALIF., HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Good to see you, Sean. And thanks for covering this update in one of the scandals that even the president can't in good faith call phony.
HANNITY: All right. Yes, good point. Explain in detail why this is important, and there are other issues that might shed some light on why she pled the Fifth.
ISSA: Well, Sean, one of the important things is that the more we see Lois Lerner as at the center of a number of points, the people below her in Cincinnati and in Washington were sending information to her and she was saying stop, don't do anything. She's part of the discussion with the political-appointed office of the chief consul, and as you say, she took the Fifth when we simply wanted to ask her what she knew and when she knew it.
And when you see that she circumvented the official mail in private -- I hate to call it private -- but in using non-government e-mail accounts for government-type business or communications with other individuals and agencies such as the FEC or the SEC, it raises concerns about what she was really up to.
HANNITY: All right. Do you -- first of all, would this be illegal what she's done? Do you think she's been obstructing justice if in fact she was using a personal account? Is that legal?
ISSA: It's an odd law. The Federal Records Act requires that all this information be gathered, but there's no explicit penalty. In other words, it's not a crime you can go to jail for for simply using that. So if you have a hard time putting her in jail for it. But it is the responsible of the IRS and the secretary of the Treasury to get this information, and so far they haven't been willing to get it and give it to us.
HANNITY: All right. Let's talk about the relationship with the FEC. And didn't she once work for that agency?
ISSA: She did. And this is one of those interesting things about people who move around in government, and everywhere they go they seem to move an agenda. And she certainly seems like she has an agenda against conservatives.
HANNITY: Well, you're sort of being obscure here, Congressman. You know more than you're telling. Do you believe that she shared tax information, which would be I believe a violation of 6301, if I'm not -- if I have the code right?
ISSA: The 6103 --
ISSA: We don't currently have proof. And one of the things about our committee is, we don't speculate on what we might find. We are following the leads as to her activities. And it's one of the reasons we haven't called her back on her failed Fifth Amendment attempt. We want to make sure we have all the tentacles, if you will, around her before we have her back to have her tell us properly what she did know rather than tell us what she didn't do, tell us how innocent she was, and then try to take the Fifth having already testified.
HANNITY: Do you know if she, in fact was communicated information about people's taxes with people within the FEC?
ISSA: Well, that's part of what we want to find out, is what these conversations are. And even if there's no 6103, no explicit breaking of the law, the fact that there was communication with the Federal Election Commission, or any other government agency, raises the question of whether knowledge at the IRS is being used to say what about these people either directly by name or by the tight category they're in.
And certainly, as you know, the president dislikes Tea Party groups. He dislikes Constitutional groups unless they agree with his interpretation of the Constitution, and that may be what we're seeing, is people who think that Citizens United was a bad decision, like the president.
ISSA: And who are acting on that.
HANNITY: Let me play for you what I believe is a smoking gun tape. And we broke this the other night. This is Lois Lerner saying that everybody was pressuring the IRS to do something about all the money. Now this was in relation to, of course, what came out as a result of the Supreme Court decision. So I want you to listen to this and tell me what you think of this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, DUKE SANFORD SCHOOL OF PUBLIC POLICY, OCT. 19, 2010)
LOIS LERNER: Last year it was a Supreme Court (INAUDIBLE) getting chipped away, chipped away, I the federal election arena. The Supreme Court dealt a huge blow, overturning a 100-year-old precedent that said basically corporations could give directly in political campaigns. And everyone is up in arms because they don't like it. The Federal Election Commission can't do anything about it. They want the IRS to fix the problem. The IRS laws are not set up to fix the problem. C4s can do straight political activity. They can go out and pay for an ad that says, "Vote for Joe Blow." That is something they can do as long as their primary activity is their C4 activity, which is social welfare. So everybody is screaming at us right now, "Fix it now before the election. Can't you see how much these people are spending?" I won't' know until I look at their 990s next year whether they have done more than their primary activity as political or not. So I can't do anything right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: All right. She's talking about the Citizens United case and ruling and then she's admitting that 501C4s can, in fact, run ads and favorite candidates, quote "Joe Blow" to use her words. Then she says, so everybody's screaming at us right now, "Fix it now before the election." This is in2010 she said this. What does this say to you?
ISSA: What it says is exactly what I was alluding to, is that she seems to have a political agenda, believes that it's her job to fix it, believes, I suspect, that Citizens United was wrongly decided. Something that I vividly remember the president chastising the Supreme Court Justice's right in the well of the House of Representatives over their decision.
So, it's pretty consistent with the president's view that Citizens United was decided wrong, and perhaps her view that she can do something about it.
HANNITY: All right. But they said they want the IRS to fix the problem. Did the IRS fix the problem by, in fact, not granting conservative groups their tax status that they were granting liberal groups?
ISSA: Well, they certainly reduced the effectiveness of conservative groups by their action. More importantly, even the Danny Werfel right now, the acting commissioner, by his saying, well you can go forward if you self-declare that you're only doing 40 percent or less, is trying to move the football for conservative groups from where the Supreme Court put it.
And a lot of that kind of activity shows the hands of people at the IRS and people in this administration in which they don't like what the Supreme Court decided, so they're going to try and circumvent it using their powers.
HANNITY: But let me look at the timeline. This was in 2010. Didn't all of these instances of targeting conservative groups happen immediately after she said that she was being politically pressured to fix it?
ISSA: Oh, absolutely. It's almost exactly when it started and continues until today. You know, Sean, there are many, many, many Tea Party groups and other conservative groups who were still waiting for an answer, and as a result, they can't even appeal a decision because they haven't gotten one.
HANNITY: So, you can confidently say that we were told a lie that this was not about rogue independent agents in Cincinnati acting on their own, and between Lois Lerner and Carter Hull, you believe this is political?
ISSA: We believe that it was ideological and that it clearly affected only conservative groups, that even the progressive groups that came up in the searches, they were approved or denied in ordinary course. Well, conservative groups were denied justice for as much as three years.
HANNITY: Do you believe laws were broken, Congressman, at this point?
ISSA: I believe that the trust of the American people was broken, and it continues --
HANNITY: I didn't ask you that. I asked if you if you thought laws were broken.
ISSA: I understand.
If we see a law broken explicitly, we certainly will go to a referral. Right now what we see is something worse. We see the intent and recognition of people that the IRS should not be a political body and that if it is, it could be the end of our democracy. We see that being broken, even while so far we haven't found any criminal violations.
HANNITY: All right. Congressman, we'll continue to follow the story and hope we get to the bottom of it. Thank you.
ISSA: Thank you, Sean.
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