06.04.2013 0

Special counsel needed in IRS case

By Robert Romano

A special counsel needs to be appointed by Attorney General Eric Holder in the growing Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandal, Americans for Limited Government (ALG) President Nathan Mehrens says.

Federal law provides that a special prosecutor may be appointed by the Attorney General in certain scandals under “extraordinary circumstances.”

“This is an extraordinary case of political viewpoint discrimination by the agency. To assure the American people that politics will not interfere with the outcome of the investigation, an independent, special prosecutor is required,” Mehrens declared in a statement.

A recent Quinnipiac University poll found that an overwhelming 76 percent of voters favor a special prosecutor being appointed in the IRS scandal, including 63 percent of Democrats.

“Voters apparently don’t like the idea of Attorney General Eric Holder investigating the matter himself,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute according to USA Today.

Mehrens’ call for a special counsel came in response to new testimony by an IRS employee stating “Washington, D.C., wanted some cases” on the tea party.

The new testimony contradicted initial claims made by former IRS Commissioner Steven Miller to congressional investigators that the scandal had been originated by two “rogue” officials at the Cincinnati office.

The employee called the two “rogue” agents explanation “impossible,” explaining, “As an agent we are controlled by many, many people. We have to submit many, many reports.  So the chance of two agents being rogue and doing things like that could never happen.”

The original claim that two “rogue” agents in Cincinnati had taken it upon themselves to target tea party groups was also contradicted by IRS rules requiring the Determinations Unit in Cincinnati to send certain applications identified by the Exempt Organizations (EO) Technical office based in Washington, D.C. for special scrutiny.

The criteria in IRS revenue procedures used in 2010 for identifying special cases reads: “EO Determinations will refer those applications that have been specifically reserved by revenue procedure or by other official Service instructions for handling by EO Technical for purposes of establishing uniformity or centralized control of designated categories of cases.”

It now appears, based on the testimony of the IRS employees, that the tea party and other cases were specifically reserved “by other official Service instructions for handling by EO Technical.”

Testimony by a separate employee also contradicted the Treasury Inspector General report that had stated, “the IRS was not politically biased in its identification of applications for processing by the team of specialists.”

The second employee affirmed that the targeting was specifically designed to go after conservative groups, responding to the question, “Was it your understanding that the purpose of the BOLO was to identify conservative groups?”

“Yes, it was,” the employee stated.

These contradictions mean a special counsel is needed, Mehrens said: “Now that testimony from IRS employees has revealed that it was the Washington, D.C., and not the Cincinnati office that requested tea party applications be flagged, it is becoming increasingly clear that a special counsel must be appointed by Attorney General Eric Holder to the bottom of this of this gross misconduct.”

Federal law used to allow Congress to appoint a special prosecutor, but lapsed in 1999. Now the decision rests solely with the Attorney General.

Robert Romano is the Senior Editor of Americans for Limited Government.

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