WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Lois Lerner, the former head of the exempt organizations unit at the Internal Revenue Service, says she is apolitical and administered the law without bias.
In an exclusive interview published Monday in Politico, Lerner denied going after Tea Party groups and other conservative political organizations. She is a registered Democrat, but said the issue is not her political leanings but whether she let them influence her work.
"I didn't do anything wrong," Lerner said. "I'm proud of my career and the job I did for this country."
In her first public interview since the scandal broke, Lerner refused to talk about the details of the investigation.
In a few weeks last year, Lerner went from being a high-ranking government official with years of stellar performance reviews who was looking forward to retirement to an unemployed woman unable to find another job. She became the face of the IRS scandal, subjected to hate mail and death threats.
"Under both Republican and Democratic administrations, she got these amazing ratings and bonuses. ... And once she retired, she would have gone out with bells and whistles, and the IRS commissioner would have made a speech. ... It went from that to: You're under criminal investigation, and your career is ruined, in a week," said her husband, Michael Miles, who sat with her during the Politico interview.
Craig Engle, a lawyer who was appointed to the Federal Election Commission by President Ronald Reagan and worked with Lerner there, agreed that Lerner is biased. However, he seems to differ with Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the head of the House Oversight Committee, and other Republicans on the nature of that bias.
"Lois' ideology is against money in politics, is 'anti-contribution'; that's her bias," Engle, an Arent Fox partner, told Politico. "Her ideology inhibited fair administration of the law."