Senate Democrats on Thursday blocked an attempt by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to pass a resolution calling for the creation of a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS scandal.
Cruz excoriated the IRS on the Senate for purposefully targeting conservative groups, and then working to cover up the scandal by refusing to testify and claiming key emails have been lost. Cruz also said Attorney General Eric Holder has refused to call for a special prosecutor, and that Congress must act to create one to ensure an impartial criminal investigation.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, called on the Senate to support a special prosecutor in the IRS scandal, but he was blocked by Democrats. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)
Cruz added along the way that Holder should be impeached for failing to take this step.
"If Attorney General Eric Holder continues to refuse to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the abuse of power by the IRS against the American people, he should be impeached," he said.
But when he asked consent to have the Senate pass his resolution, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) objected on behalf of Democrats. Wyden repeated the Democratic argument that several investigations have taken place already, and that no more taxpayer funds should be used for new investigations.
"I have to question whether bringing in a special prosecutor would be a good use of taxpayer money in this case," Wyden said.
Republicans have argued that Holder's office has been unable to run an impartial investigation on the IRS. Cruz noted, for example, that Barbara Bosserman lead the department's criminal probe into the scandal — Bosserman gave over $6,000 to Obama's two presidential campaigns.
Cruz also noted that IRS Commissioner John Koskinen himself has donated $100,000 to Democrats, and said it's an "embarrassment" that these are the officials expected to assert themselves against President Obama.
"It saddens me to say that the U.S. Department of Justice under Attorney General Eric Holder has become the most partisan Department of Justice in the history of our country," Cruz said.
Cruz said it's an "insult" to have the IRS say it lost Lois Lerner's emails, and said everyone should be bothered by Wednesday's news that Lerner tried to target Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa.).
"How comfortable are you with the precedent that the IRS can single out Democratic senators who might disagree with the president's political position?" he asked. "The targeting of Chuck Grassley… ought to trouble every member of this body."
Cruz also said that the IRS paid a $50,000 fine after admitting it gave away confidential taxpayer information to the political opponents of the National Organization for Marriage. "That is textbook abuse of power," he said.
He concluded by saying the Obama administration has used the IRS for political purposes in ways that Richard Nixon only imagined.
"It was wrong when Richard Nixon tried to use the IRS to target his political enemies… and it was wrong when the Obama administration tried and succeeded to do the same thing," he said.