Frustrated by the administration's efforts to brush the IRS scandal under the rug, House Republicans on Friday turned up the heat under Attorney General Eric Holder, demanding that his Justice Department appoint a special counsel to probe the efforts to punish conservative, anti-Obama groups.
“We must hold the IRS accountable so this powerful agency cannot be used as a tool to target and harass Americans for their political beliefs,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp.
Explaining the demand for a special counsel, Camp expressed doubt that Justice will aggressively probe the IRS in its own investigation.
“I have serious concerns that the Department of Justice has brushed aside this investigation and will not pursue [former IRS executive Lois] Lerner for the wrongdoing she committed. Therefore, DOJ must appoint a special counsel, so we can have an independent review of what really happened at the IRS,” said Camp.
Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan was the one who on Friday officially introduced the resolution calling for the naming of a special counsel. He was joined by several other House GOP leaders, including House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa.
Camp said that his committee has found evidence of wrongdoing by Lerner in the case where several conservative, Tea Party groups had their requests for tax exempt status held up or ignored by the IRS.
Jordan said in a committee statement, “We need this special counsel to help us get to the truth because the so-called investigation by the Justice Department has been a joke. The current investigation has no credibility because it is being headed by a maxed-out donor who is financially invested in the president’s success.”
Issa added, “Congressional investigations into the IRS targeting scandal have uncovered evidence of serious criminal activity, which must be resolved according to the law. Unfortunately, the Department of Justice’s current investigation has lost credibility and public confidence. Appointing a special counsel is a necessary step to restore impartiality to a case that requires it. The person Attorney General Holder appoints must be someone beyond the administration’s own political circle, whose professional independence and political disinterest is beyond reproach.”
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.