Last Updated:September 16 @ 07:27 am

Ted Cruz: 'Two hundred and eighty days have passed...'

By Washington Times (DC)

cruz_questionsAttorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said Wednesday that there is still a chance the government would file criminal charges against Internal Revenue Service employees who targeted tea party groups for special scrutiny, disputing press reports that the criminal probe into the tax agency has already decided the behavior didn't rise to the level of a crime.

Mr. Holder defended his department's investigation into the IRS, saying it's being run by career employees and is free from political taint -- even though one key lawyer involved was a major political donor to President Obama's campaigns.

But his words didn't assuage Republicans, who said he should appoint a special prosecutor who could elevate the investigation beyond the realm of politics. They also said they are stunned that the probe has lasted eight months and some key tea party activists still haven't been interviewed.

"Two hundred and eighty days have passed and many, if not all, of the victims have not even been interviewed," said Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican. "Two hundred and eighty days have passed and apparently the anger and outrage that both the president and you expressed has utterly disappeared."

After an internal auditor reported in May that the IRS was improperly targeting tea party groups for special scrutiny, Mr. Holder ordered his department to conduct a criminal investigation.

Eight months later, there have been no indictments and House Republicans have begun looking into the Justice Department itself.

On Tuesday, House investigators sent a letter asking Barbara Bosserman, the lawyer involved in the investigation who is also an Obama donor, to testify at a hearing next week.

"With your history of extensive financial and personal support for the president and the Democratic Party, your involvement in the administration's investigation raises the appearance of a substantial and material conflict of interest," Rep. Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican who is heading a subcommittee conducting the investigation, said in the letter, which was seen by The Washington Times.

Mr. Jordan and full Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa, California Republican, have identified Ms. Bosserman as the leader of the Justice Department's investigation.

Department officials had never contradicted that claim, but Mr. Holder said Wednesday that was an inaccurate characterization of her role. He said Ms. Bosserman is from the department's civil division, but elements of the FBI and the Justice Department's public integrity and criminal divisions also are involved and the criminal division is taking the lead.

He defended all of those involved.

"I have confidence in the career people at the FBI and the other investigative agencies to conduct a thorough, comprehensive investigation, and that's what I would expect of them. And that is why matters like this take as long as they do," he said.

Mr. Holder refused to discuss the status of the investigation, but he denied a published report that the investigation concluded there were no criminal acts in the targeting.

"All the options that we have are on the table," the attorney general said.

Ms. Bosserman didn't reply directly to an email seeking comment from The Times but forwarded it to the press office, which said the department will respond directly to the committee's request for her to testify.

The IRS targeting and the criminal investigation remain controversial on Capitol Hill, where Republicans say the administration tried to silence dissent by refusing to approve applications for nonprofit status from conservative groups. The internal IRS audit found some groups had waited for more than three years for approval.

The tax agency blamed a 2010 Supreme Court ruling that gave more leeway for groups to engage in politics. The IRS said it was having trouble weeding out political activities, which is why it delayed applications and asked questions it now acknowledges were intrusive.

Late last year, the tax agency issued rules that it says will prevent confusion by cracking down on what constitutes political activity. But many groups objected, saying it was an effort to stifle their rights to free speech.

Meanwhile, the back-and-forth between Mr. Issa and Mr. Jordan on the one hand, and the Justice Department has grown more pointed.

In a Jan. 24 letter, the Justice Department bristled at the accusations, calling the questions about Ms. Bosserman "inappropriate and unfounded."

"Your decision to impugn the integrity of a career attorney raises serious concerns," Principal Deputy Attorney General Peter J. Kadzik wrote. "Targeting career attorneys in this manner could plainly have a chilling effect on the valid exercise by federal employees of their basic right to participate in the political process."

Mr. Jordan, in his letter to Ms. Bosserman this week, said the Justice Department was wrong to accuse the Republicans of "targeting," saying it suggests an equivalence between Mr. Issa and Mr. Jordan on the one hand, and the IRS targeting of conservative groups on the other hand.

"His deliberate choice of this word not only insults the victims who were truly targeted by the IRS, but it further undermines the integrity of the administration's IRS investigation," Mr. Jordan said.

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(c)2014 The Washington Times (Washington, DC)

Visit The Washington Times (Washington, DC) at www.washingtontimes.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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Ted Cruz: 'Two hundred and eighty days have passed...', 9.0 out of 10 based on 22 ratings





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5 Comments

  1. ksr1Comment by ksr1
    January 30, 2014 @ 12:39 pm

    Seen a clip of Sen. Cruz grilling Holder … it was a sight when Holder tried to rebut the DOJ’s actions however, it was a real weak attempt in him trying to justify their selection process. Way to go Sen. Cruz!

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    Rating: 4.4/5 (22 votes cast)
  2. whodunitComment by whodunit
    January 30, 2014 @ 1:57 pm

    Thank you, Ted! Keep standing up to these guys and keep fighting for us and for the Constitution! God Bless you!

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    Rating: 4.6/5 (24 votes cast)
  3. flyervicComment by flyervic
    January 30, 2014 @ 2:24 pm

    Holder also looked away when replying to the question if he knew that Bosserman was a major donor to BO – indicating deception on his part. Holder is a lying piece of garbage. He is not to be believed in anything he says. Sen. Cruz are him up!

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    Rating: 4.3/5 (17 votes cast)
  4. bendoublecrossedComment by bendoublecrossed
    January 30, 2014 @ 4:59 pm

    What is the difference between an editorial endorsement or slanted news story and a political ad?

    For 184 years, prior to Watergate and the charter of the Federal Election Commission, citizens were free to pool unlimited money to communicate political ideas and endorse candidates. There was no requirement to form a PAC or assemble as any particular type of organization. And citizens and groups were not required to report to government donor lists, amounts or how funds were disbursed.

    Congress amended the FECA in 1974 to set limits on contributions by individuals, political parties and PACs.

    But politicians exempted the commercial press, because the 1st Amendment prohibits abridging their freedom of speech and the press. Giant media corporations are allowed to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money influencing the political process because their communications are said to have no political value.

    The 1st Amendment denies Congress authority to write laws that abridge citizen’s freedom of speech, press and assembly. But the Federal Election Campaign Act and the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act abridges all three!

    Currently, only State approved media corporations are exempt from campaign laws: 2 USC 431(9)(B)(i) exempts newspaper, broadcast and magazine corporations from the definition of contribution and expenditure.

    Call your representatives and demand they add ‘citizens and citizen’s groups’ to the language of the press exemption.

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  5. mcrankComment by mcrank
    January 30, 2014 @ 5:33 pm

    “In a Jan. 24 letter, the Justice Department bristled at the accusations, calling the questions about Ms. Bosserman “inappropriate and unfounded.”

    If they had agreed to a special prosecutor where there was clearly no conflict of interest from either side, there would be no need for them to bristle. But if they are going to let their own people investigate their own questionable actions, then—hello—it isn’t going to come across as very genuine. They obviously have something to hide.

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    Rating: 4.3/5 (12 votes cast)

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