Holder Potential civil rights violations at IRS

first_imgWASHINGTON — The FBI’s criminal investigation of the Internal Revenue Service could include potential civil rights violations, false statements and potential violations of the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in some partisan political activities, Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday.Holder, testifying to the House Judiciary Committee, was asked what criminal charges could be pursued against IRS employees or officials. Holder announced on Tuesday that the Justice Department was the investigating the IRS after the agency acknowledged that agents had singled out conservative groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status.“I can assure you and the American people that we will take a dispassionate view of this,” Holder said. “This will not be about parties, this will not be about ideological persuasions. Anybody who has broken the law will be held accountable.”Holder also says it will take time to determine if there was criminal wrongdoing.As the investigation widened, House Speaker John Boehner told reporters he had this question: “Who’s going to jail over this scandal?”“There are laws in place to prevent this type of abuse. Someone made a conscious decision to harass and to hold up these requests for tax exempt status,” Boehner said. “I think we need to know who they are and whether they violated the law. Clearly someone violated the law.”Wednesday’s hearing was the first of several in Congress that will focus on the issue.The House oversight committee announced Wednesday that it will hold a hearing May 22, featuring Lois Lerner, the head of the IRS division that oversees tax exempt organizations, and former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, whose five-year term ended in November.last_img

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