The House next week will consider a resolution asking the Obama administration’s Justice Department to create a special counsel to investigate the targeting of conservative groups by the IRS.
The resolution will be considered in the same week the House holds a vote on whether former IRS official Lois Lerner is in contempt of Congress. Republicans say Lerner’s refusal to answer questions about the targeting scandal means she’s in contempt, and the House is expected to pass the contempt resolution.
But Republicans have also said they want a formal examination of the actions of the IRS, and that is what the second resolution, H.Res. 565, is all about.
That resolution was offered by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), and it says Attorney General Eric Holder needs to appoint a special counsel because the IRS itself has shown it is too biased to lead the investigation.
“[T]he Administration’s efforts to undermine the investigation, and the appointment of a person who has donated almost seven thousand dollars to President Obama and the Democratic National Committee in a lead investigative role, have created a conflict of interest for the Department of Justice that warrants removal of the investigation from the normal processes of the Department of Justice,” the resolution said.
The language states that the Obama administration made it clear back in 2010 that it opposed the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which said companies have a right to engage in political speech. It says that posture led the Exempt Organizations Division at the IRS to start applying greater scrutiny to conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.
It notes that in late 2010, Lerner said in a speech that people are “screaming” at the IRS to “fix the problem” posed by the Citizens United decision.
House GOP leaders announced this week that members would vote on whether Lerner is in contempt of Congress next week.
May is already turning into a major oversight month for the House. In addition to the two resolutions dealing with the IRS scandal, House Speaker John Boehner announced on Friday that he would hold a vote to create a special committee to investigate the Benghazi attacks — no date has been set that for that vote yet, but Republicans indicated it would happen in the near term.