Domestic Taxes

Ted Cruz slams Obama administration over IRS investigation

Greg Nash

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) slammed the Obama administration for declining to name a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS’s treatment of Tea Party groups, calling it the “height of hypocrisy.”

{mosads}Cruz had urged Attorney General Eric Holder to name a special prosecutor in January, after a key attorney in the Justice Department’s investigation was found to be a Democratic donor and following reports that no criminal charges were expected

The Justice Department brushed aside that request in a letter last week, a move that Cruz compared unfavorably to the Clinton and Nixon administrations – both of whom, he said, appointed special prosecutors when warranted.

“To date, nine months after a damning Inspector General report, nobody has been indicted, many of the victims have not even been interviewed, and Lois Lerner has twice pleaded the Fifth,” Cruz said in a statement, referring to the IRS official at the center of the targeting controversy.

“And yet the attorney general refuses to allow a genuine–and impartial—investigation,” added Cruz, a favorite of grassroots conservatives and a potential contender for the 2016 GOP nomination. “The integrity of the Department of Justice deserves better. The American people deserve better.”

Many Republicans had been skeptical of a special prosecutor investigating the improper scrutiny the IRS gave to groups seeking tax-exempt status, in large part because Holder would be tasked with appointing the prosecutor.

But the idea has gained more traction in GOP circles in recent months. A range of congressional committees is still investigating the IRS, and Republicans continue to insist that the agency treated conservative groups far more harshly than liberal organizations. But Democrats counter that no one outside the IRS has been linked to the improper scrutiny, and maintain that there’s no sign that evidence was politically motivated.

House Republicans have signaled that they’re interested in holding Lerner in contempt of Congress, after ruling that she waived her Fifth Amendment rights at a hearing last year. But GOP lawmakers have not set a timetable on that front, after a high-profile spat between House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) this month.

In their letter to Cruz, the Justice Department said that a special prosecutor wasn’t warranted in the IRS case, and are only rarely appointed for cases where it would be a conflict of interest for the department to be involved.

“This investigation has been and will continue to be conducted by career prosecutors and law enforcement professionals in accordance with all department policies and procedures that are designed to ensure the integrity of an ongoing criminal investigation,” Peter Kadzik, principal deputy assistant attorney general, wrote to Cruz.

“The department remains committed to integrity and fairness in all of its law enforcement efforts, without regard to politics.”

Tags Eric Holder Ted Cruz

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