We need an independent prosecutor for IRS abuses
Senator Ted Cruz has written a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder calling for the Obama administration to stop stonewalling and for the attorney general to appoint an independent prosecutor to probe the IRS scandal. The letter can be found and shared at the senator's site here.The chances Holder will appoint an independent prosecutor are remote. That would mean losing control of the investigation and the cover up. Instead the administration and Democrats are doubling down on trying to suppress conservative groups before the next elections. Without pressure from the media, it just will not happen and too many on the left support political suppression enforced by the IRS.
The IRS harassment of the president's political adversaries and the agency's role in obstructing the participation of tea-party groups in the 2012 campaign are among the most egregious episodes of Obama administration malfeasance - and that's saying something with this crowd.
For public consumption, as Cruz observes, both the president and the attorney general spouted indignantly about how "intolerable and inexcusable" and "outrageous and unacceptable" the IRS's undeniable targeting of conservative groups was. But then they conducted an "investigation" under the direction of an Obama campaign donor in which law enforcement did not bother to interview the harassment victims. Meanwhile, the administration has not only stonewalled Congress (the familiar Obama M.O.) but, Cruz notes, is actively seeking new IRS rules that would validate and provide for systematic use of these "intolerable, inexcusable, outrageous and unacceptable" tactics.
Before the Justice Department's attempted whitewash, I argued against an independent prosecutor - both because a completely independent prosecutor would be unconstitutional and because the congressional investigation stood the best chance of advancing the search for truth (a criminal DOJ investigation would just give suspected government officials a rationale for ignoring Congress's inquiries). In the ensuing seven months, however, the Obama administration has not only obstructed the congressional investigation; it has commissioned an embarrassingly conflicted investigation in a blatant effort to tuck the scandal under the rug. If Justice is going to do an investigation, we must demand that it be sufficiently independent to have integrity.
Senator Cruz, a constitutional scholar and highly competent lawyer, is obviously sensitive to the problems posed by independent prosecutors. Prosecution is an executive power and, under the Constitution, may not properly be exercised wholly independent of the executive branch. Thus the senator takes pains to ask Holder to appoint a prosecutor "with meaningful independence" from Main Justice (emphasis added), not complete independence.
A Justice Department with integrity would not need to be told that. But a Justice Department with integrity would not have assigned Barbara Bosserman to run the investigation. Ms. Bosserman is a partisan Democrat who is a heavy Obama donor - reportedly $6,100 from 2008 through 2012, which is a considerable amount of money for a lawyer on a government salary (as opposed to a lawyer in a successful private practice).
In response to the entirely predictable and fully justified complaints about Ms. Bosserman's appointment, the Justice Department contends that it is impermissible to take a person's political leanings into account in doling out assignments. That is not just a specious claim; coming from this Justice Department, it is a claim that insults the intelligence.