Topics: House Oversight

Darrell Issa calls on Eric Holder to turn over secret interviews with former IRS official

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Sean Higgins,Tea Party,IRS,Eric Holder,Darrell Issa,Justice Department,Lois Lerner,House Oversight

In a letter Thursday, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., demanded that Attorney General Eric Holder turn over all documents held by the Justice Department in regards to a secret interview its attorneys conducted with former top IRS official Lois Lerner. The interviews reportedly focused on IRS targeting of Tea Party groups.

Formerly exempt organizations director for the IRS, Lerner was a central figure in the decision to scrutinize the efforts of Tea Party activists to acquire nonprofit status for their organizations. The groups believe they were subject to harassment because of their criticism of the government, a serious violation of federal law if proven.

Lerner has repeatedly invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination rather than testify before Issa's committee, which she most recently did earlier this month.

However, in a press conference related to that hearing, Lerner's attorney William Taylor said she had given a lengthy interview to DOJ attorneys sometime in the last six months without being granted immunity.

Issa's letter, which was also signed by Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, demands "all documents and communications" related to the interview.

The chairman did not sound optimistic about getting them though, noting that the department has regularly ignored the committee's requests.

"For over eight months, the Committee has sought to carry out its oversight obligations in concert with the Department of Justice’s law-enforcement duties. At every stage, the Department has refused to fully cooperate with the Committee," Issa and Jordan wrote.

Issa also criticized the Justice Department for placing attorney Barbara Bosserman, a Democratic donor, in charge of its own investigation in the IRS/Tea Party matter.

Earlier this year, news leaked that the Justice Department probe would close without making any charges.

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