A Special Counsel No-Brainer

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IRS Scandal

An independent investigation by a special counsel is tailor made for the Internal Revenue Service targeting scandal. In instances like this, national leaders like the President and Attorney General of the United States must transcend politics and make restoring trust in government the paramount issue.

In a case this inflammatory--the politicization of the IRS--people serving at the pleasure of the President at the Department of Justice cannot be trusted to conduct an independent investigation because there is an inherent conflict of interest. How can you ask someone to fairly investigate their boss or others who work for their boss? The answer is: you can’t. 

At a press conference on Thursday, President Obama drove home the point about why we need a special counsel in this case. A reporter asked Mr. Obama if this case warranted a special counsel and the president answered that it did not. According to The Washington Post:

President Obama said Thursday that he does not believe a special counsel needs to be appointed to investigate the Internal Revenue Service’s practice of targeting conservative groups, saying congressional hearings and a federal criminal investigation should be enough to determine what happened.

There is the problem for all to see: the decision to appoint a special counsel is not President Obama’s to make. That decision lies with the Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder. By answering this question the way he did, the President publicly relayed to the Attorney General--his subordinate--that he does not want a special counsel appointed. The president effectively poisoned the well on national television.

The reason why congressional hearings and an Eric Holder-run criminal investigation won’t suffice is because they are both inadequate and biased. Congress can’t indict, try, and convict; all they can do is hold hearings and report facts. Meanwhile Mr. Holder was appointed by President Obama; he can’t realistically conduct an independent and thorough investigation about a subject that could be so damaging to his boss.

This case has politics, fear, and abuse of power all over it. It appears to have started after my group Citizens United won a U.S. Supreme Court in 2010.

After the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision reasserted robust First Amendment rights that enabled Americans to more freely participate in our political process, President Obama and Democrats in Congress immediately attacked the decision out of the fear it would adversely affect them politically. From President Obama and then-Speaker Pelosi on down, all on the left proceeded with a scorched earth campaign to discredit and overturn Citizens United through demagoguery and falsehoods. 

It showcased how far the party of Jefferson and Madison had fallen--actively criticizing a court decision that was backed up by our First Amendment right to free speech. It was also around this time that IRS personnel appear to have begun their abusive practice of unfairly scrutinizing conservative groups applying for non-profit status. 

The American people should not stand for a politicized investigation into the politicization of the IRS. It will take the will of the people to force Obama and Holder to do what’s right. The person appointed to be special counsel should have a reputation for impartiality with impeccable credentials for following the facts, wherever they may lead without concern for politics. Only this type of investigation will restore trust with the American people.

This decision--whichever way it goes--will be remembered by historians as a pivotal moment during the Obama Administration.


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