U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa late Monday expressed fury at a news report that Eric Holder’s FBI has found no reason to pursue criminal charges against IRS agents who targeted tea party groups to limit their political activities in the run-up to President Obama’s 2012 re-election.
The Wall Street Journal reported late Monday that FBI investigators are blaming confusing rules and bureaucratic incompetence — rather than criminal intent — for the studied and deliberate treatment of conservative groups opposed to President Obama’s re-election that were seeking tax-exempt status.
In a letter to the attorney general reported by the Daily Caller, Issa, the California Republican who chairs the House Oversight Committee, and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said both the FBI’s conclusions and the way they were leaked underscore the essential lawlessness of the Obama administration’s handling of the IRS scandal.
“Anonymous — and apparently politically motivated — leaks from unnamed law enforcement officials further undermine the public assurances by the current and former FBI directors that this is a legitimate investigation,” Issa and Jordan wrote.
While infuriating to conservatives – and anyone who believes in the rule of law – the Journal’s report that the FBI has found nothing criminal isn’t surprising.
It was led (or “rigged?”) by Justice Department civil rights lawyer Barbara Bosserman, an Obama supporter and donor. It was conducted at a glacial pace – since the scandal broke in May the “investigators” had almost no contact with the groups the IRS targeted.
And after President Obama postured as being “angry” that the IRS behavior, the White House and its media allies spent months trying to paper the IRS assault on American democracy as another “phony scandal.”
In other words, it was never a serious investigation and its conclusions won’t be taken seriously either — outside of MSNBC, the New York Times editorial page and other Democratic Party offices.
“These revelations further undermine the credibility of the Attorney General Holder and the Justice Department under his leadership. Given the circumstances, there is little reason for the American people to have confidence in this investigation,” Issa and Jordan wrote.
So the investigation of an Obama re-election effort by a supporter of Obama’s re-election under the supervision of Obama’s attorney general finds no one broke any laws. Sure, it makes the Founders’ United States of America look like some South American banana republic at the turn of the last century — and takes us one more step in that direction.
But there’s still a bright side – the truth might come out anyway.
As the New York Post pointed out in an editorial, if the FBI is declining to pursue criminal charges, the IRS official at the center of the controversy should be able to tell her story under oath now, after taking the Fifth Amendment to avoid incriminating herself.
“In short,” the Post wrote, “if the threat of criminal charges has in fact been removed, there’s no more excuse for Lois Lerner not to tell us, under oath, what she was apparently afraid to say in May.”