FBI, DOJ Obstructing Congressional Investigation of IRS?

By:  Jack Kenny
FBI, DOJ Obstructing Congressional Investigation of IRS?

U.S. Representatives Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), both members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, charged in a letter to FBI Director James Comey, Jr. that the FBI and the Justice Department are impeding the investigation into the IRS targeting conservative groups seeking tax exemption.

Both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice "have impeded a congressional investigation and interfered with the Committee's access to information," according to a sharply worded four-page letter two members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee sent this week to FBI Director James B. Comey, Jr.

Chairman Darrell Issa of California and committee member Jim Jordan of Ohio, both Republicans,took the Bureau and its parent organization to task for allegedly stonewalling the committee's repeated requests for documents and information about the FBI's investigation into the IRS targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.

"Obstructing a congressional investigation is a crime," the congressmen warned in their December 2 letter to Comey. "Making false statements to Congressional staff is also a crime. Please ensure that all Bureau employees are aware of the consequences for obstructing and misleading Congress, and that they fully cooperate with the Committee's requests."

They gave the agency two weeks to provide documents and information requested in the committee's letter of September 6 and subsequent requests.

"If the Bureau does not produce this information by 5:00 p.m. on December 16, 2013, we will be forced to consider the use of compulsory process to obtain them," they wrote, presumably meaning subpoenas. The Justice Department referred inquiries about the letter and its accusations to the FBI and the Bureau declined to comment, saying it would answer the committee in writing, the Washington Times reported.

The internal auditor for the IRS reported in May that the agency had asked inappropriate questions and delayed applications by conservative groups for changes in their tax status. At about the time Attorney General Eric Holder ordered the FBI to begin a criminal investigation, a leader of two of the targeted groups claimed she was harassed by both the FBI and the IRS, as well as other federal agencies.

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Photo of FBI Director James B. Comey, Jr.: AP Images

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