Senate Republican calls for a special prosecutor in IRS scandal, fellow lawmakers disagree

Patrick Howley Political Reporter
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A powerful Republican senator called for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the scandal surrounding the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups for extra scrutiny.

Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday that a special prosecutor should be called upon to investigate the exploding IRS scandal, as well as accusations that the Obama administration’s Department of Justice spied on a Fox News reporter.

“My belief about the IRS scandal is that this culture of going after tea party groups that were on the president’s case about Obamacare did just not accidentally happen. I think it comes from the top in terms of tone,” Graham said in regard to the IRS scandal.

Not all Republicans agree with Graham’s call to action.

“When I can’t do my job because I lack the authority or cooperation, I’ll seek additional remedies,” House oversight committee Chairman Darrell Issa said last week.

At least three different congressional investigations, including one led by Issa and one led by Democratic Montana Sen. Max Baucus, are reportedly stalling the immediate appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the much-maligned agency.

“I think it’s too soon. I don’t think there’s enough evidence to warrant a special prosecutor,” said Baucus, who is leading an investigation into the IRS’ conduct as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

As The Daily Caller previously reported, Baucus wrote a September 2010 letter to then-IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman urging the IRS to scrutinize the tax-exempt nonprofit status of conservative groups.

“I request that you and your agency survey major 501(c)(4), (c)(5) and (c)(6) organizations involved in political campaign activity to examine whether they are operated for the organization’s intended tax exempt purpose and to ensure that political campaign activity is not the organization’s primary activity,” Baucus wrote to Shulman, identifying the conservative group Americans For Job Security as one of his targets and citing a Time magazine article about pro-Republican outside groups entitled, “The New GOP Money Stampede.”

Past presidential scandals have required the services of special prosecutors, including Archibald Cox, the Watergate special prosecutor famously fired by President Nixon in the 1973 “Saturday Night Massacre,” and Kenneth Starr, whose investigation into President Clinton’s Whitewater scandal led to Clinton’s impeachment for allegedly lying under oath about his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

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