Ex-IRS Official Won't Be Charged in Tea Party Scandal Justice Dept. declines to charge Lois Lerner By Newser Editors and Wire Services Posted Oct 23, 2015 1:57 PM CDT 147 comments Comments This March 5, 2014 file photo shows former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) official Lois Lerner on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke, File) (Newser) – The Justice Department is declining to bring charges against Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of a political controversy over the processing of applications for tax-exempt status. Federal prosecutors announced their decision Friday in a letter to members of Congress. A firestorm erupted more than two years ago with an inspector general's audit that said IRS agents had improperly singled out tea party and other conservative groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status during the 2010 and 2012 elections. The disclosure set off investigations by the Justice Department and multiple congressional committees. The House voted to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress last year after she refused to answer questions at two House Oversight hearings. She has since retired.