Former IRS official Lois Lerner has asked a federal court to keep her and her deputy’s testimonies in the Tea Party targeting case sealed forever due to fears of death threats aimed not only at them but also their families.
The Washington Times first reported the motion that Lerner and deputy Holly Paz filed last Thursday to keep the materials sealed, which included tapes and transcripts of their depositions. They’ve received threats in the past, and now that Lerner has come into the spotlight again, those threats may resume, she argued.
Fox News obtained court documents that said the “public dissemination of their deposition testimony would expose them and their families to harassment and a credible risk of violence and physical harm.”
“Whenever Mss. Lerner and Paz have been in the media spotlight, they have faced death threats and harassment,” the documents said. “Returning Mss. Lerner and Paz to the media spotlight places them at risk, regardless of what they actually said in those depositions.”
The court documents said further, “Public exposure will put innocent bystanders, namely Mss. Lerner’s and Paz’s family members (including young children), at risk, too.”
Lerner, in the opinion of the Tea Party and other conservative groups whom she targeted, do not see her in a positive light. According to the IRS officials, Tea Party leader Mark Meckler said that the lawsuit would “treat the IRS like the criminal thugs they are.”
Meckler’s comments, argued the court filing, have created a “fertile environment where threats” have “flourished” against Lerner and Paz.
On Monday, the Justice Department told Fox News that the testimonies of both Lerner and Paz would, for the moment, remain sealed.
The Tea Party and other conservative groups have argued that under the Obama administration, during which Lerner acted as the head of the Exempt Organizations unit, were targeted after applying for tax-exempt status. The Tea Party had applied as early as in 2013 but that application was delayed. During the lawsuit, Lerner became the face of the scandal, though others in the IRS were involved.
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