As the political targeting scandal at the Internal Revenue Service unfolds, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton says it may be time for Congress to form a select committee to do a full investigation into what extent the IRS targeted conservative groups and whether the federal agency tried to cover it up.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen
testified before the House Oversight Committee on Monday night and the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday to try to explain how the federal agency lost the emails of former IRS official Lois Lerner, who has been at the center of the scandal.
"He's laying out a narrative that hasn't been challenged yet," Fitton told J.D. Hayworth and John Bachman on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV
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"There's been no independent investigation other than the IRS telling Congress how it is they were able to not produce documents responsive to a subpoena," Fitton explained.
"That destruction of the hard drive, that collapse of her system occurred 10 days after Congress made a key inquiry about IRS political targeting. Ten days later, the documents disappear?" Fitton asked.
"That's something they should have told Congress about immediately, if indeed it was an innocent mistake, or just a coincidental computer error," he added.
At that point, "they could have taken steps to try to protect that information and evidence, go to other agencies where these emails may have resided, go to backup tapes immediately, but they didn't do that."
"That shows you the contempt they had for Congress from the beginning of this process," the Judicial Watch chief said.
Fitton says that it will take "an independent criminal inquiry . . . to get answers" but that he doesn't "trust the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel."
However, he says that "the good news is, at least 26 Democrats already voted to criminally investigate or to appoint a special counsel to criminally investigate the president's IRS and the IRS scandal generally," which he says "is certainly a strong bipartisan sign that something needs to be done here."
The answer may be to create a "select committee . . . to ratchet up the pressure again," partly because in the House, two committees are investigating the IRS scandal, which is creating a lot of overlap, Fitton argues.
"Maybe the solution is to have a Benghazi-type select committee into the IRS investigation," he said. "This is a serious scandal, and Congress doing its usual complaining about documents it's not getting, doesn't really get the public anywhere unless you've got a grand jury going or a significant congressional investigation above and beyond what typically is done."
obtained some of Lerner's emails through a Freedom of Information Act request in mid-May, and they showed that the IRS targeting of conservative groups occurred in Washington as well as in the federal agency's Cincinnati office.
Fitton contends that Congress wouldn't even know "about these IRS emails" if it weren't for the work the watchdog group has done.
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