Tea Party Coalition Calls for Special Prosecutor for IRS
The Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation has called on Congress to appoint an independent special prosecutor to investigate the IRS targeting of conservative organizations. The Federation is a coalition of more than 40 tea party-affiliated organizations in the Commonwealth. At least one member, the Richmond Tea Party, was singled out for scrutiny by IRS staff.
“A special prosecutor will have the power to break through the conflicts of interest inherent in Treasury Department and Department of Justice investigations,” Mark Daugherty, chairman of the federation told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
The IRS has maintained that Lois Lerner, head of the Tax Exempt Division, put an end to the targeting of conservative groups when she became aware of the practice. Her signature, however, is on a number of letters from the IRS to the Richmond Tea Party asking intrusive and inappropriate questions. This suggests she was aware of the targeting and, at least at some point, condoned it.
It is important to remember that the Inspector General's report that documented the IRS targeting of conservatives was just an audit, not an investigation. The report detailed what happened, but didn't shine light on how it happened, who knew about it or even who authorized it.
Last week, appearing before the House Oversight Committee, Lerner read a statement proclaiming her innocence and then invoked her 5th Amendment rights to avoid any questioning. A special prosecutor is likely the only way the public can learn what happened at the IRS.