F.B.I. investigators do not believe Internal Revenue Service officials committed crimes in the unusually heavy scrutiny of conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status, a law enforcement official said Monday.So of course, to my friends at the Trib, the fix is in:
Prosecutors for the Justice Department who have been overseeing the case have not made a decision about whether to file charges against the officials — although that would seem unlikely given the F.B.I. investigators’ conclusion, according to the official, speaking anonymously because he could not talk on the record about a continuing investigation.
Despite an admission by the I.R.S. that it inappropriately targeted conservative groups, by searching for groups with the words “Tea Party” or “Patriots” in their names, many legal experts and law enforcement officials say they do not believe that the scrutiny broke the law. Some members of Congress had called for the Justice Department to investigate the tax-collecting agency. The Wall Street Journal was the first to report Monday that criminal charges were unlikely.
Break out the hip boots. For things have gotten deep in the Justice Department's now clearly faux investigation of the Internal Revenue Service for improperly targeting tea party groups seeking tax-exempt status during the 2012 election cycle.Yea, except that we already know that's not the entire story. Indeed, it's something the very next sentence from the Times points out:
I.R.S. documents show the agency gave the same scrutiny to some liberal groups, using the key words “Progressive” and “Occupy.”But the right wing media has another argument:
Fast on the heels of appointing a “ringer” prosecutor to handle the case — civil rights trial lawyer Barbara Bosserman, who was a hardly insignificant donor to President Obama's two White House runs and the national Democratic Party...See? She's a lib'rul! That means she can't be trusted! It's a conflict of interest!!
And they're upset at that:
Two Republican lawmakers and a conservative legal group are crying foul over the Justice Department’s selection of a Democratic donor to lead the agency’s investigation into the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of advocacy groups during the 2010 and 2012 election cycles.Too bad that would be illegal:
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) issued a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday saying DOJ trial attorney Barbara Bosserman’s involvement is “highly inappropriate and has compromised the administration’s investigation of the IRS.” They asked that the department remove her from the case. [Emphasis added.]
The Justice Department contends that there was nothing improper about naming Bosserman to lead the investigation and that taking her political leanings into account would have been inappropriate.I guess they missed that part.
“It is contrary to department policy and a prohibited personnel practice under federal law to consider the political affiliation of career employees or other non-merit factors in making personnel decisions,” DOJ spokeswoman Dena Iverson said in a statement. “Additionally, removing a career employee from an investigation or case due to political affiliation, as Chairmen Issa and Jordan have requested, could also violate the equal opportunity policy and the law.” [Emphases added.]