Sen. Ted Cruz made references to the Nixon administration and Watergate after the Justice Department declined to name a special prosecutor to probe the IRS targeting scandal in place of the Democratic donor who is currently leading the investigation.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) speaks at the Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators’ state Capitol day event, Tuesday, March 18, 2014, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
“The investigator is a partisan Democrat who has donated over $6,000 to President Obama and Democrat causes,” Cruz said in a statement. “Just as nobody would trust John Mitchell to investigate Richard Nixon, nobody should trust a partisan Obama donor to investigate the IRS's political targeting of President Obama's enemies.”
Mitchell was one of Nixon's attorneys general and was a key figure in the Watergate scandal that led to Nixon's demise.
A letter to Cruz from Peter J. Kadzik, principal deputy assistant to Attorney General Eric Holder, said the DOJ would not appoint a special prosecutor.
“We have concluded that such an appointment is not warranted,” Kadzik wrote. “The investigation has been and will continue to be conducted by career prosecutors and law enforcement professionals in accordance with all department policies and procedures that are designed to protect the integrity of an ongoing criminal investigation.”
In January, Cruz formally asked Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to independently investigate the matter. Justice Department attorney Barbara Bosserman is leading the departmental probe of the IRS targeting conservative groups.
Bosserman donated at least $6,750 to President Barack Obama’s campaigns and to the Democratic National Committee. Bosserman was an Obama donor in the early stages of the president’s 2008 primary campaign Hillary Clinton.
Cruz said the reputation of the Justice Department deserves better.
“Eric Holder has chosen to reject the bipartisan tradition of the Department of Justice of putting rule of law above political allegiance,” Cruz said. “Both Nixon administration Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Clinton administration Attorney General Janet Reno appointed special prosecutors whose integrity was beyond reproach; Eric Holder should do likewise.”
The May 2013 admission by the IRS that it had been giving extra scrutiny to conservative and Tea Party groups came to pre-empt a scathing inspector general report. Then-IRS Acting Commission Stephen Miller and IRS tax-exempt division head Lois Lerner stepped down from their positions.
Lerner has twice invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in declining to answer questions about the scandal before Congress.
During a January interview, President Barack Obama attributed the problems to “boneheaded” decisions by IRS employees and said there was “not a smidgen of corruption.”