House Plans Vote for Special Counsel to Investigate IRS

Leaders in the House of Representatives have scheduled a vote in the coming week to ask the United States Justice Department to establish a special counsel to investigate the IRS targeting of conservative organizations.

The call for the vote has come primarily from Republican members of the House, who note that the lead investigator on the IRS targeting scandal, Barbara Bosserman, was a regular donor to the Obama presidential campaign.  Therefore, Republicans believe Bosserman cannot help but be biased in her duties to investigate IRS leaders, when the finding could tarnish the reputation of the Obama administration.

“It is time for Attorney General Holder to appoint a special counsel to investigate the IRS targeting scandal and bring the appropriate charges against those responsible,” noted Eric Cantor, the House Republican leader from Virginia, in a written statement released last w eek.

Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio sponsored the call for the vote, likewise expressing harsh criticism of the IRS investigation to date by Bosserman.

‘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,” said Jordan.  “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.”

“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,” continued Jordan.

This call for a special counsel by Republican members of the House is not the first such call of Attorney General Eric Holder.  However, to date, Attorney General Holder has refused to establish a special counsel.

“Unfortunately, the Department of Justice’s current investigation has lost credibility and public confidence,” said Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight Committee.  “Appointing a Special Counsel is a necessary step to restore impartiality to a case that requires it.”

Democrat members of the House criticized the call for the special counsel, noting it is simply a means to keep the IRS scandal in the news headlines as the November elections approach.  They believe Republican candidates can then use the scandal as ammunition to criticize their Democrat opponents.

Vote Also Expected in Coming Week on Contempt Charges against Former IRS Director Lerner

In the coming week, members of the House will also vote on whether to bring contempt charges against Lois Lerner, the former IRS Director of Exempt Organizations.

Lerner faces those charges for refusing on two separate occasions to answer questions about the IRS targeting scandal.  In the IRS scandal, IRS members delayed the applications of conservative and Tea Party organizations applying for tax-exempt status during the 2010 and 2012 elections.  Those delays prevented the organizations from readily oppose Democrat candidates seeking office.

E-mails and testimony from other IRS employees point to Lerner as one of the IRS leaders who not only knew about the IRS targeting but also directed the effort.  Questions remain on if orders to carry out that targeting stopped at Lerner’s desk or went potentially all the way to President Obama.

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by Mark Johnston

Mark has been a contributor to legal web sites related to bankruptcy, tax, and criminal law since 2011. He has an Accounting degree from Texas A&M University.