U.S. Senator Ted Cruz renewed his demands for an independent investigation of the IRS targeting scandal in a fresh letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Senator Cruz argued that newly-surfaced emails obtained by Judicial Watch further demonstrate the Department of Justice’s potential bias in handling the investigation of wrongdoing by the IRS.
“In your judgment, at what point is the actual bias, or appearance of bias too great?” Cruz probed.
The May 7 letter noted new emails demonstrating apparent IRS cooperation with the DOJ when investigating groups and individuals–typically conservative–seeking tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(4) organization. Cruz pointed to an email conversation between Lois Lerner and the acting IRS Commisioner Chief of Staff acting on a request from DOJ to help investigate applicants that “lied” on their forms with respect to planned political activities.
On May 8, 2013, Lerner wrote:
I got a call today from Richard Pilger Director Election Crimes Branch at DOJ…He wanted to know who at IRS the DOJ folk[s] could talk to about Sen. Whitehouse idea at the hearing that DOJ could piece together false statement cases about applicants who ‘lied’ on their 1024s–saying they weren’t planning on doing political activity, and then turning around and making large vis[ible] political expenditures. DOJ is feeling like it needs to respond, but want to talk to the right folks at IRS to see whether there are impediments from our side and what, if any damage this might do to IRS programs. I told him that sounded like we might need several folks from the IRS.
According to the letter, Lerner “handed off” the matter to an IRS co-worker and a meeting with the DOJ was reportedly scheduled.
Given the new evidence of DOJ reportedly injecting itself into the IRS targeting matter, Cruz charged that “it now appears that the Department of Justice may itself have been involved in illegally targeting citizen groups based on their political views.”
Senator Cruz reminded Attorney General Holder that after his initial request for an independent prosecutor into the matter, the DOJ assured that “a significant ‘ongoing investigation'” was already underway, according to the letter. Given new evidence, Cruz continued to inquire if such a new investigation would commence, given recent conflicting public statements.
A copy of the letter was released to the public.
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