Top Democrats Balk on Special Prosecutor for IRS Scandal

Image: Top Democrats Balk on Special Prosecutor for IRS Scandal Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont.

Monday, 27 May 2013 09:58 AM

By Audrey Hudson

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Key Democrats are rejecting calls for a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS scandal that has dogged the Obama White House, insisting that two weeks of unfolding details, congressional hearings and forced resignations have not allowed them enough time to study the issue.

Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus, the Montana Democrat whose committee held one of the hearings, told The Hill there is not enough evidence to warrant a special prosecutor.

Such an appointment could make the probe metastasize into something unwieldy, argued Rep. Richard Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat who sits on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.

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Democrat Rep. Joe Crowley of New York, a member of the House leadership, said lawmakers should first exhaust Congress’s investigative power before calling for a special prosecutor.

The tax-collecting agency is under the microscope for targeting tea party and other conservative groups with questionable scrutiny and has forced the resignation of the acting IRS chief and administrative action against Lois Lerner after her appearance before a House panel last week.

“I haven’t seen anything yet that would make me think that we need to take this to a special prosecutor. Period,” said Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the House oversight panel.

Democrats are blaming the matter on clumsy management of applications that conservative groups filed for tax-exempt 501(c)(4) status, but say they are still angry with how the IRS responded to lawmakers concerns.


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