Lois Lerner, head of the IRS unit that decides whether to grant tax-exempt status to groups, listens on Capitol Hill in Washington.AP
WASHINGTON – Lois Lerner, the IRS official at the heart of the scandal involving the targeting of Tea Party groups, is retiring.
Lerner, who headed the division in the tax-collecting agency that handles applications for tax-exempt status, had been placed on paid administrative leave in May. Calls for her dismissal came almost immediately following allegations she had participated in unfairly targeting conservative groups.
The IRS confirmed on Monday that she has resigned, though it's unclear how that decision might affect the ongoing congressional investigations into the scandal.
"Since May, the IRS has taken decisive actions to correct failures in Exempt Organizations management, replacing top leadership throughout the chain of command," the agency said in a written statement announcing her retirement. "In addition, IRS Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel created an Accountability Review Board to fully review information to ensure proper oversight in handling personnel issues."
The announcement has not quieted calls for a thorough probe into the agency's actions. It's also not clear what kind of government-paid retirement benefits Lerner might be receiving.
"Just because Lois Lerner is retiring from the IRS does not mean the investigation is over. Far from it. In fact, there are many serious unanswered questions that must be addressed so we can get to the truth," Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said in a written statement.