Tags: IRS Scandal | Tea Party | cleta mitchell | irs | tea party | targeting | scandal

Tea Party Lawyer Mitchell Rips Congress for Inaction on IRS Scandal

By    |   Thursday, 14 May 2015 11:27 PM

It's been two years since an inspector general's report revealed the IRS had targeted tea party and conservative groups for extra scrutiny – but the lack of action since then also illustrates "Congress's inability to exercise its constitutional oversight responsibilities," lawyer Cleta Mitchell charges.

In a blistering op-ed commentary in the Wall Street Journal Thursday night, Mitchell, who represents many tea party and conservative groups, says it's time both the Obama administration and Congress do something to rectify the inaction.

"Lying to Congress is a felony," she writes. "But the Obama Justice Department has not lifted a finger to prosecute anyone responsible for the IRS scandal, including top brass who repeatedly gave false testimony to Congress."

But "neither has Congress done much about being lied to by the IRS," she adds.

Mitchell says a report issued last December by California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa – then chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform—"details numerous instances in which senior IRS officials, including former Commissioner Doug Shulman, Acting Commissioner Steven Miller and Exempt Organizations Director Lois Lerner lied to Congress, denying and covering up the targeting of tea party and conservative groups before the inspector general’s May 2013 report."

She also lashes out at IRS commissioner John Koskinen for telling Congress in June 2014 that there were multiple unsuccessful efforts to recover a trove of mysteriously missing emails to and from Lerner.

"All the while the emails were sitting on an off-site server in West Virginia," she writes.

"Congressional oversight has devolved into a series of show hearings after which nothing happens," Mitchell writes. "No one gets fired for lying. No changes are made in the functioning of the agencies. No programs are defunded. Congress issues subpoenas that are ignored, contempt citations that aren't enforced, criminal referrals that go into Justice Department wastebaskets."

Mitchell writes that Congress should establish"that it has standing to independently enforce a congressional subpoena through the federal courts."

"Congress also should use its purse strings to change specific behavior in federal agencies," she urges.

"Rather than across-the-board reductions, Congress should zero out specific departments and programs as agency misconduct is uncovered. It is the only way to stop the executive branch from running roughshod over the American people."

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It's been two years since an inspector general's report revealed the IRS had targeted tea party and conservative groups for extra scrutiny – but the lack of action since then also illustrates "Congress's inability to exercise its...
cleta mitchell, irs, tea party, targeting, scandal, congress
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2015-27-14
Thursday, 14 May 2015 11:27 PM
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