Tax Day: GOP Sen. Presses Obama Administration On Criminal Probe Of IRS Targeting of Conservatives

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/AP
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/AP

On Tax Day, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) pressed the Obama administration for an update on the criminal investigation into the alleged misconduct of IRS personnel in the handling of conservative organizations’ tax exempt status.

“It’s unclear whether all of these cases are open or closed,” Grassley said Wednesday. “The investigative agencies should account for their work. The scandal damaged the public trust in the IRS. Building back any of that trust requires investigation and accountability for any misconduct.”

In a letter to the Acting Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George, the Iowa lawmaker requested more information about the investigation — or lack thereof.

“In May of 2013, Attorney General Holder announced that he had ordered the investigation. In January of 2014, the Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed law-enforcement officials, reported that the FBI did not at that time plan to file any criminal charges as a result of the investigation, but noted that the case was ongoing and would likely remain open for months,” Grassley wrote in the letter.

Earlier this month, the Justice Department announced it would not seek criminal contempt charges for one of the most significant figures in the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups, ex-IRS official Lois Lerner, over her refusal to testify before Congress on the matter.

The Department said it was still investigating the underlying matter of targeting.

Grassley requested information about the status of the probe, including the names of the officials investigating, when they were assigned to the case, the number of hours spent investigating, investigators’ possible interaction with IRS employees prior to the investigation, and efforts to preserve evidence.

“In order to evaluate the extent to which your organizations are actively investigating this issue,” Grassley wants answers by May 15.


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