Obama charged with blocking IRS probe, breaking promises to help
By Paul Bedard | MARCH 5, 2014 AT 12:01 PM
A House chairman probing the IRS scandal on Wednesday said that President Obama has reneged on a promise to have his aides cooperate with the investigation, forcing the Ways and Means Committee to conduct a dragnet for emails and documents needed to smoke out the truth.
Rep. Dave Camp also revealed that federal agents conducting an investigation into the Internal Revenue Service's bid to punish Tea Party and conservative critics of the president have yet to talk to a single target of the scandal.
Camp, whose committee is one of several looking into the 2010-2013 scandal, put the blame for the drawn out investigations on Capitol Hill at the president’s feet.
“I don’t fully understand why it’s taken them so long given that the president promised,” Camp said at a media roundtable hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. “He promised that he would have quick action and we still don’t have the documents from an agency that is in this administration."
His committee has been frustrated with the administration's failure to cough up emails from Lois Lerner, who ran the IRS department that blocked Tea Party groups from winning the typically quick approval of tax exempt status. Lerner was on Capitol Hill Wednesday where she refused to testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
“I still don’t have all of her emails. I still don’t have all of the documents that I’ve requested. The administration promised a quick action, and I’m still waiting for her emails,” said Camp, a Michigan Republican. “I need all of those, before I can conclude.”
By refusing to make good on his promise, Camp said that Obama and his administration is to blame for dragging out the investigations. Had Lerner not refused to testify to his committee earlier, Camp said “we probably would be at the bottom of what this is all about.”
He also expressed disgust that the Tea Party victims of the scandal, many of whom have been identified and even testified before his panel, are being ignored by the administration’s probe.
“As far as I know, I don’t know that Justice has spoken to any of the victims. I have not got information that they have even contacted the witnesses that came before the Ways and Means Committee,” said Camp.
While the scandal has taken a back seat to other issues, Camp said that his probe has uncovered several new elements to be included in a final report. “We found that the targeting was more widespread than they had admitted. We found that it wasn’t just agents in Cincinnati that were rogue agents, this actually originated in Washington, D.C.,” he said. “I don’t think a lot of the public knows that,” he added.