Attorney General Eric Holder has discounted reports that no charges would be filed in the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of tea party and conservative groups, assuring skeptical lawmakers Wednesday all options "are on the table."
Speaking at a Senate Judiciary hearing, Holder insisted the investigation into the IRS scandal is forging ahead, the Washington Times reported
, and pushed back against suggestions a lawyer involved in the probe is tainted because she donated to President Obama's campaign.
"I have confidence in the career people at the FBI and the other investigative agencies to conduct a thorough, comprehensive investigation, and that’s what I would expect of them," he told the committee. "And that is why matters like this take as long as they do."
Holder clammed up about the status of the protracted probe, but insisted: “All the options that we have are on the table."
Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz was not appeased.
“Two hundred and eighty days have passed and many, if not all, of the victims have not even been interviewed,” he complained.
“Two hundred and eighty days have passed and apparently the anger and outrage that both the president and you expressed has utterly disappeared.”
After an internal audit found
last May the IRS was targeting tea party groups for an extra layer of scrutiny, Holder ordered a criminal investigation. The IRS subsequently apologized for the targeting
The Times reported House investigators, who are also looking into the scandal, sent a letter asking Obama donor and investigator Barbara Bosserman to testify next week.
"With your history of extensive financial and personal support for the president and the Democratic Party, your involvement in the administration's investigation raises the appearance of a substantial and material conflict of interest," Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, wrote, according to the Times.
The Hill reported many Democrats have dug in, denying there's any evidence to suggest a political motivation behind the targeting.
But GOP senators recounted reports from exasperated tea party groups that claim they're still waiting to hear from federal agents.
"When your department was asked to step in and investigate, no one has been held accountable for this abuse," Texas Republican Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn scolded Holder, The Hill reported
Cruz and Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham pressed Holder to appoint a special prosecutor in the case; Holder said there's no reason to believe one is needed, The Hill said.
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