By Melanie Hunter
At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday, Attorney General Eric Holder denied knowing that a top Democratic donor is leading the internal investigation into the IRS targeting of conservative groups.
“No, I don’t know anything about the political activities of any of the people who are involved in this investigation,” he said when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) questioned him during a Justice Department oversight hearing.
“I must tell you I find it astonishing that the Department of Justice appointed a major Obama donor to head this investigation, so the first question I want to ask is did you know that the lawyer in charge of this investigation was a major Obama donor?” Cruz asked Holder.
On Jan. 8, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sent a letter to Holder, calling Bosserman’s involvement “highly inappropriate” and demanding that she be “immediately” removed from the investigation.
Issa’s letter detailed that Barbara Bosserman, a trial attorney within the IRS’s Civil Rights Commission, donated close to $7,000 to “Obama’s political campaigns and the Democratic National Committee” between 2004 and 2012.
Holder objected to “the characterization” of Bosserman as the lead lawyer on the case, saying the investigation is “being done by the civil rights division as well as the criminal division of the Justice Department, and if I had to assign a lead in this, I would say that the criminal division of Public Integrity section has actually got the lead.”
“General Holder, with all due respect, you did not answer the question I asked, which is did you know that this lawyer was a major Obama donor,” Cruz said.
After Holder denied knowing the “political activities” of anyone involved in the investigation, Cruz noted that the DOJ ethics guidelines instruct lawyers who believe their “impartiality might be questioned” must either “disqualify” themselves or “see an ethics officer.”
“And indeed it goes on to say, ‘In a case where your impartiality might be questioned, you may obtain a formal opinion that the department’s interest in your participation in this matter outweighs the concern that the integrity of the department’s operation would be questioned,’” Cruz added.
“Now, previously when you were asked about this, you made a reference to the fact that she has a First Amendment right to be involved in politics, and that’s surely right,” Cruz told Holder.
“No one’s talking about restraining her First Amendment right to be involved in politics,” Cruz added.
The fact that “a major Obama donor is playing this leadership role has resulted in the integrity of the department being questioned,” Cruz said. “Is it your position that out of the 117,000 employees at the Department of Justice the only lawyer available to head this investigation was a major Obama donor?”
More of the article at link:
- See more at: http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/melanie-hunter/i-dont-know-anything-holder-denies-knowing-irs-investigator-was-obama#sthash.YBmzjdaM.dpuf