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IRS commissioner: Republicans may not really want a special prosecutor

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 23, 2014, before the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Job Creation, and Regulatory Affairs hearing on the IRS' response to the targeting of conservative organizations. (AP Photo) AP Photo

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said he's not sure Republicans really want a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS, as they say they do, because that would prevent them from holding dozens of hearings on the IRS targeting scandal.

"[Y]ou know, I'm not sure if people really want a special prosecutor, because that would shut everything down," Koskinen said in an interview with Tax Analysts. "The special prosecutor then would have sole domain over this and so you wouldn't be holding all these fun hearings every week or two."

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said this week he's not sure Republicans really want a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS. (AP Photo)

Despite his assertion, House Republicans have continued to call for the establishment of a special prosecutor at the Department of Justice, over fears that the Obama administration has no interest in a tough, objective investigation into the IRS targeting scandal.

Just this week, House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) said a special prosecutor is needed, in light of evidence that former IRS official Lois Lerner has a dislike for some conservatives. In an email released by the committee, she called those involved in talk radio "assholes."

Koskinen said complying with various congressional requests for information and to testify is taking away a significant amount of his time.

"I've had 10 hearings that take most of the day," he told Tax Analysts. "It takes a while to prepare for those hearings. I get updates about how we're doing."

"It's probably 20 percent of my time."

Koskinen has indicated that his big worry is how to keep people motivated to work at the IRS. Last week, he told a House committee that various investigations has led to low morale.

He told Tax Analysts that he also worries about how to attract new people to the beleaguered agency.

"[E]ven if you have the funding, you still need to address how do I get young people in here?" he asked. "How do I get people in mid-career to have promotion opportunities and then develop opportunities?"

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