There is sufficient circumstantial evidence that former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner obstructed a Congressional investigation and needs to be punished, Cause of Action Executive Director Dan Epstein said on Newsmax TV
's "America's Forum."
supervised the IRS division that reviewed organizations applying for tax exempt status until her retirement last year, after it was revealed that the IRS targeted conservative, and some progressive, groups leading up to the 2012 election. Organizations with the words tea party and patriot in their name received extra scrutiny.
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Epstein said the Justice Department has already shown that it conducts its business in a "politically sensitive" manner, as indicated by Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to have the FBI investigate IRS employees through its civil rights division instead of the criminal division.
"It is indicative that there's not going to be any serious kind of criminal investigations here or at least in terms of fraud or other types of obstruction statues," he said. "What is clear though is that Congress very much has the ability to use obstruction as a signal that this administration is very much not about transparency.
"When you obstruct a Congressional investigation that's a serious issue and even if we can't rely on our Justice Department, which is a sad state of affairs, to bring justice to those federal employees who are above the law.
"We can rely on our Congress to really message that and to really educate the American people that this is a serious problem and ultimately we need to hold this administration and the ideology of this administration accountable for that."
To send a message to other federal employees that unethical and illegal activities will not be tolerated, Epstein suggested putting Lerner behind bars.
"You can actually put Lois Lerner in the capital jail there's no question, statutorily you can do that," he said. "You can hold her in contempt and put her in jail."
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