Double Whammy: GOP Demands IRS Special Counsel
Not only are House Republicans forming a select committee to investigate Benghazi, there is now a concerted push from top GOP officials for the appointment of a special counsel on the IRS scandal.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) introduced the IRS scandal special counsel resolution on Friday. Jordan’s resolution calls on Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint an independent counsel to investigate the IRS scandal, rather than the current Department of Justice attorney investigating. The current DOJ investigator donated thousands of dollars to President Obama’s re-election campaign and to the Democratic National Committee.
In a statement announcing his resolution’s introduction, Jordan said:
We need this Special Counsel to help us get to the truth because the so-called investigation by the Justice Department has been a joke. The current investigation has no credibility because it is being headed by a maxed-out donor who is financially invested in the President’s success. The Attorney General says he won’t share any information with Congress about the investigation, but looked the other way when information was leaked to the media signaling that no one would face criminal charges. This resolution calls for a real investigation by an unbiased investigator to get to the truth and hold those responsible for this illegal targeting accountable for their actions.
Jordan has several high-profile cosponsors out the gate, including three key chairmen: House Oversight Committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), and Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI). The other three original cosponsors—Reps. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Charles Boustany (R-LA)—are also key players in House oversight efforts. Issa made the case:
Congressional investigations into the IRS targeting scandal have uncovered evidence of serious criminal activity, which must be resolved aording to the law. Unfortunately, the Department of Justice’s current investigation has lost credibility and public confidence. Appointing a Special Counsel is a necessary step to restore impartiality to a case that requires it. The person Attorney General Holder appoints must be someone beyond the Administration’s own political circle, whose professional independence and political disinterest is beyond reproach.
Gowdy added that the law is clear: there should be a special counsel. “Current law provides Special Counsel should be appointed in extraordinary cases where it serves the public interest,” Gowdy said. “I cannot think of anything more extraordinary than targeting Americans simply for having a certain ideology, and it is most assuredly in the public interest to protect our freedom of speech.”
Goodlatte said the current DOJ investigation has been “undermined” because the lead is an Obama and Democrat donor.
These actions have created a conflict of interest which has undermined both the integrity of the investigation and the American people’s confidence in the Justice Department’s ability to get to the bottom of this scandal without spinning or covering up the facts. To restore Americans’ trust in the investigation and hold those accountable for targeting Americans for their political beliefs, Attorney General Holder should immediately appoint an independent Special Counsel to probe this unsettling issue.
Camp added that he is worried, if an independent counsel is not appointed, that Lois Lerner and the IRS will get away with their malfeasance. "I have serious concerns that the Department of Justice has brushed aside this investigation and will not pursue Lerner for the wrongdoing she committed,” Camp said. “Therefore, DOJ must appoint a Special Counsel, so we can have an independent review of what really happened at the IRS.”
Majority Leader Eric Cantor promised a vote on the resolution next week. "This is far too serious a matter to leave to the discretion of partisan political appointees no matter who is in the White House," Cantor said.