Top GOP Lawmakers: No Need for Special Prosecutor in IRS Scandal

Friday, 24 May 2013 11:05 AM

By Melanie Batley

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Republican leaders in Congress are currently against appointing an independent special prosecutor to investigate the IRS controversy, arguing that it could interfere with their own probes into the agency's targeting of conservative groups.

Just two weeks into their committee investigations, top GOP lawmakers say it's too soon to call in a special counsel, and fear turning it over to an Obama appointee who could give the administration too much power to define the investigation's scope while limiting their ability to influence its direction, The Hill reported Friday.

"When I can't do my job because I lack the authority or cooperation, I'll seek additional remedies," House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa, who is leading the House investigation, told reporters Thursday.

Other Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Sen. Orrin Hatch, and House Ways and Means members Dave Camp and Charles Boustany, have signaled they're in agreement.

"There will be more hearings coming. I think it's premature," Boustany said, referring to the appointment of a special counsel.

Under current law, Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department can appoint a special counsel when they believe a deeper criminal investigation is warranted. They would also have the power to determine the terms of the prosecutor's jurisdiction, The Hill reported.

Rep. Diane Black, a member of the Ways and Means committee, doesn't care for that option.
"It scares me," she told The Hill. "Who will appoint the special prosecutor? Holder! Do I really want the administration that I don't trust appointing a prosecutor right now? I think not."

Holder has already launched an investigation into the IRS' actions, but unlike the House probe, some GOP lawmakers fear it might not examine ways that tea party and other conservative groups were harmed by the IRS that fall short of criminal actions.

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