Feb 4, 2014 No Comments ›› Chuck Biscuits
Excerpted from WASHINGTON TIMES: The Justice Department said Tuesday that nobody briefed President Obama on its investigation of the IRS ahead of his statement Sunday that there was no evidence of corruption in the tax agency’s targeting of tea party groups.
“Generally, we do not brief elected officials,” Deputy Attorney General James Cole told a House committee on Tuesday.
Republicans said that called into question why the president made his statement to Fox News over the weekend that there was “not even a smidgen of corruption” at the IRS, given the FBI’s investigation is ongoing and Mr. Obama hasn’t been briefed on it.
“How can he be so sure, when it’s an ongoing investigation?” said Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican and chairman of a key investigative committee looking into the IRS and the Justice Department’s criminal investigation into the agency.
Mr. Cole said that was a question only the White House could answer, but repeated that nobody at the Justice Department had briefed Mr. Obama.
On Monday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Mr. Obama didn’t have any inside information, but rather drew his conclusions from what’s already been reported by the IRS’s internal auditors and in the press.
“Every investigation into this, and everything we’ve learned about this is that this is not something that in any way reached outside of the IRS,” Mr. Carney said.
Eight months after it was revealed, the IRS’s targeting of tea party groups for special scrutiny remains a contentious issue on Capitol Hill.
Congressional Democrats sent a letter Tuesday to the inspector general accusing him of holding improper secret meetings with Republicans, and said that could skew the auditor’s probe.
“These private, partisan meetings undermine your obligation as an inspector general to conduct audits and investigations in a balanced and nonpartisan manner,” Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the Oversight Committee, and Virginia Rep. Gerald Connolly, ranking Democrat on a key subcommittee, said in their letter to Inspector General J. Russell George.
The Democrats said the meeting requests came from Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, who they said specifically ordered that Democrats not be included.
The two lawmakers said they want Mr. George to resist such requests in the future and insist everything be bipartisan.
The two Democrats also said they are still trying to get to the bottom of an apparent miscommunication last year when the inspector general’s spokeswoman said Mr. Issa had asked the auditors to limit themselves to only looking at tea party groups’ treatment. Keep Reading