The Daily Caller News Foundation obtained a 2007 email revealing that Lois Lerner, a former IRS official at the heart of the tea party audit scandal, ignored a failure by unions to report their political expenditures.
At the time, major unions were reporting significant political contributions to the Department of Labor while neglecting to report the same contributions to the IRS. Lerner acknowledged in the 2007 email that expenditures reported in a Form LM2 to the Department of Labor should also be reported to the IRS. “The definition of political campaign activity required to be reported on Form LM2 coincides with the definition of political campaign activity expenditures required to be reported on Form 990,” she said.
As the Director of Exempt Organizations at the IRS at the time, Lerner was directly responsible for overseeing the reporting of political expenditures by these unions. However, she neglected to enforce the law requiring the unions to report such spending to the IRS.
According to the Daily Caller, tens of thousands of dollars went unreported to the IRS from major unions, such as the AFL-CIO and the National Education Association, in the years prior to the 2007 email: In 2006, the year leading up to Lerner’s email, the national headquarters for the AFL-CIO reported no direct or indirect political expenditures with the IRS on their 990 form, leaving the line 81a blank. That same year, the AFL-CIO reported $29,585,661 in political activities with the Department of Labor.”
The IRS did not investigate the matter further, allowing the unions to continue spending money on political activities without IRS oversight.