Justice bars lawyer from testifying before House panel in IRS probe

The Justice Department said Thursday it is refusing to let a key lawyer testify to the House oversight committee on the criminal investigation into the IRS, saying that to let her brief Congress could potentially skew its probe.

But oversight committee Republicans said blocking lawyer Barbara Bosserman from testifying only makes the Justice’s investigation look more partisan.


SEE ALSO: Holder won’t rule out criminal charges for employees in IRS scandal


After an internal audit last year revealed the IRS was unfairly targeting tea party groups for intrusive scrutiny and blocking their applications for tax-exempt status, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. called for a criminal probe into the tax agency.

Eight months later, the probe has shown few public signs of progress, and many of the tea party victims say they still haven’t heard from the FBI or Justice Department lawyers.

House Republicans said they were concerned about the direction of the probe, and Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican and a subcommittee chairman on the House oversight committee, asked Ms. Bosserman to testify at a hearing next week.

The GOP has identified her as the lead lawyer on the investigation, and they have questioned her role, given her history as a significant political donor to President Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns.

Mr. Holder has denied Ms. Bosserman is the leader of the investigation and in a new letter to Mr. Jordan on Tuesday Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole, Mr. Holder’s deputy, said Ms. Bosserman won’t be testifying, nor will the department let anyone else appear.

“The department’s longstanding policy, applied across administrations, is to decline to provide Congress with non-public information about ongoing criminal investigations,” Mr. Cole said. “Our disclosure of non-public information about this pending investigation would be inconsistent with this long-standing policy and could undermine judicial confidence in the independence of the criminal justice process.”

He said they won’t give any information until the investigation is complete. Mr. Holder, speaking to a Senate panel on Wednesday, said the long timeframe of the investigation isn’t unusual.

He also disputed a published report that they have already concluded against filing criminal charges.

The oversight committee said the Justice Department’s decision to prevent Ms. Bosserman from testifying makes things worse.

“The Justice Department’s refusal to answer questions — including questions about apparent conflicts of interest within the investigation itself — is highly disappointing. This refusal only enhances concern that politics have infected the administration’s examination of inappropriate targeting by the IRS,” a committee spokesman said.

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks