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IRS agrees to hand over Lerner emails to House committee

Lois Lerner, Director of Exempt Organizations for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), invokes her fifth amendment right during a House Oversight and Governmental Reform Committee hearing on the IRS and it's targeting of conservative groups, on Capitol Hill on May 22, 2013 in Washington, D.C. UPI/Kevin Dietsch
Lois Lerner, Director of Exempt Organizations for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), invokes her fifth amendment right during a House Oversight and Governmental Reform Committee hearing on the IRS and it's targeting of conservative groups, on Capitol Hill on May 22, 2013 in Washington, D.C. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo

WASHINGTON, March 7 (UPI) -- The IRS agreed to turn over emails and other material from Lois Lerner, a central figure in the agency's alleged targeting controversy, a U.S. House panel said.

Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., who threatened to subpoena the items after criticizing the Internal Revenue Service for not complying with his request, called the decision significant in the panel's investigation, the Hill reported.

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"This is a significant step forward and will help us complete our investigation into the IRS' targeting of conservative groups," Camp said in a statement.

Earlier this week, Lerner, the IRS official who first acknowledged the agency's improper scrutiny of Tea Party groups seeking tax-exempt status in May, invoked her Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination before the House Oversight Committee.

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Democrats have said the IRS already turned over more than 500,000 pages of documents, and that none of them indicate any link between the agency's actions and the White House.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has pledged to do whatever he can to help Congress complete its investigation of his agency.

Camp sought all of Lerner's emails since 2009, but said the IRS handed over only Lerner's emails concerning determination of a group's eligibility for tax-exempt status.

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"From the few Lerner documents we have received, we know that Washington, D.C., orchestrated the targeting of groups applying for tax-exempt status, surveillance of existing tax-exempt groups and formed the proposed 501(c)(4) rules designed to push conservative groups out of the public forum," Camp said Friday. "The remaining documents are key to determining the level of wrong doing and deception committed by this agency."

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