GOP's Issa and Jordan: Time to Investigate the IRS Investigators

Thursday, 16 Jan 2014 02:16 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Republican Reps. Darrell Issa and Jim Jordan want the Justice Department's inspector general to conduct his own probe into the Internal Revenue Service's activities where conservative groups are concerned.

Issa, of California, and Jordan, of Ohio, formally made their request for an internal investigation Wednesday, reports Fox News, saying Justice is creating the appearance of not taking the investigation against the IRS seriously.

The lawmakers have been voicing concerns that a backer of President Barack Obama was chosen to lead the FBI's investigation into the IRS, and wrote in a letter to Inspector General Michael Horowitz Wednesday that they have many concerns, including recent claims from the Obama administration that criminal charges in the IRS case are not likely.

Their letter centers on the appointment of Barbara Kay Bosserman to lead the FBI's investigation. Finance records show Bosserman gave more than $6,000 to both of Obama's presidential campaigns and also was in attendance in 2009 when Obama signed hate crimes legislation.

Issa said earlier this week that anonymous leaks harmed the inquiry into the IRS' activities, criticizing Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department alike after a media report that federal authorities didn’t plan to pursue criminal charges in the case.

“These revelations further undermine the credibility of the Attorney General Holder and the Justice Department under his leadership,” Issa and Jordan said in a statement late Monday night. "Given the circumstances, there is little reason for the American people to have confidence in this investigation.

"Anonymous — and apparently politically motivated — leaks from unnamed law enforcement officials further undermine the public assurances by the current and former FBI directors that this is a legitimate investigation," they continued.

The IRS said in May that it had given extra scrutiny to tea party groups applying for nonprofit status, unleashing a scandal that led to the ouster of the agency’s acting chief and several other senior officials.

Conservatives and lawmakers are concerned that the IRS probe is not going anywhere in the eight months after the agency acknowledged it targeted conservative groups for scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status.

Issa and Jordan also sent a letter to Labor Secretary Thomas Perez on Wednesday, asking him if he was involved in the investigation, pointing to his prior position supervising Bosserman while they both worked in the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.

Officials at the Justice Department, though, have defended Bosserman's donations, saying that she was exercising her constitutional rights to make political contributions. Further, officials said it is a "prohibited personnel practice under federal law" to consider political affiliation or other "non-merit" factors when making personnel decisions or assigning cases.

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