Though only in the early stages of the investigation into the Internal Revenue Service’s mistreatment of conservative groups, House Republicans are already divided on the eventual need for a special prosecutor.
Some rightfully worry that special counsel would be appointed by none other than controversial Attorney General Eric Holder, others say the IRS investigation will ultimately require the criminal investigative powers of the Justice Department.
All agree, though, that the House Ways and Means and Oversight Committees continue its attempts to seek answers and information.
According to The Hill, “Some in the GOP conference are skeptical of essentially allowing President Obama’s administration to investigate itself,” also saying that DOJ involvement may actually hamper Congress’ current investigation.
“When I can’t do my job because I lack the authority or cooperation, I’ll seek additional remedies,” Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa said.
“It scares me: Who will appoint the special prosecutor? Holder!” the article quoted of Ways and Means member U.S. Rep. Diane Black. “Do I really want the administration that I don’t trust appointing a prosecutor right now? I think not.”
But after a couple of weeks of House hearings, it is clear senior IRS officials aren’t being forthcoming with information.
Both former IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman and former acting commissioner Steven Miller have spent days testifying before Congress with many a “I don’t know, I can’t recall, I can’t say,” and the arrogant director of tax-exempt organizations flat out refused to testify after invoking the Fifth Amendment.
“So, now how do you get those answers,” if not by calling for a special prosecutor Rep. James Lankford asked, the article said.
Former prosecutor Rep. Trey Gowdy also agreed special counsel will be needed. “As long as you have access to grand jury power and subpoena power, yes, that’s the way you investigate crimes,” Gowdy said. “Congress is not well-equipped to investigate crimes.”
However, some Republicans are calling for patience on a special prosecutor, The Hill reported:
“It took us eight months to start to get some answers on Benghazi. This IRS thing has been around three weeks. It’s not going to happen overnight,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who chairs an Oversight subcommittee.
“It may come to that,” Jordan added about the prospects of a special prosecutor. “I’m certainly not dismissing that. It remains an option, but right now we’re just getting started.”