Attorney General Eric Holder Orders Investigation of IRS

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/talkradionews/7444603300/">Roger Barone</a>/Flickr


At a Tuesday press conference, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that he had ordered the Justice Department and FBI to investigate whether the Internal Revenue Service violated the law by subjecting tea party groups applying for tax-exempt nonprofit status to special scrutiny. Other dark money organizations that have drawn criticism from advocates of campaign finance reform, including the pro-Obama Priorities USA and Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, have received little attention from the IRS.

The controversy, which was first reported on Friday, is the latest in a long line of alleged IRS witch hunts against specific political and religious organizations.

The New York Times reports:

The activities of I.R.S. officials are already the subject of an investigation by the agency’s inspector general. The results of that inquiry, which are expected in the next several days, are likely to detail how officials at the agency selected political groups for extra scrutiny about their tax status.

The attorney general said there were “a variety of statutes within the I.R.S. code” that could be the basis of a criminal violation. He said officials conducting the investigation would also look at “other things in Title 18” of the United States Code. Title 18 is the overall criminal code for the federal government.

During a concurrent press conference, White House press secretary Jay Carney said that “if the reports about the activity of IRS personnel prove to be true,” President Barack Obama “would find them outrageous, and he would expect that appropriate action be taken, and that people be held responsible. He has no tolerance for targeting of specific groups.”

More MotherJones reporting on Dark Money

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.