FBI Still Hasn't Contacted IRS-Targeted Tea Party Groups About Investigation
by Joe Schoffstall, CNS News, July 2, 2013
More than a month and a half after it was announced that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) would launch an investigation into the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) targeting of conservative groups, the groups and their legal representatives are still waiting to hear from the FBI.
Cleta Mitchell, an attorney representing nine tea party groups who were targeted by the IRS, told CNSNews.com that she has not heard from the FBI regarding the case and questions whether an investigation is actually underway.
"I have no reason to believe there is an investigation. It appears to me the Obama administration is only talking to itself," Mitchell stated in an e-mail.
Mitchell and her clients are far from the only ones who are still left in the dark.
American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) Executive Director Jordan Sekulow, whose organization now represents 41 tea party groups in a case against the IRS, told CNSNews.com that they, too, are waiting to hear anything pertaining to the investigation.
"To date, none of our clients or any of our attorneys has been contacted by the FBI. The Director continues to assert that this is a priority for the Bureau, but at this point, there's little evidence to suggest that this probe is on the fast track," Mr. Sekulow wrote. "There has been no contact with any of the 41 conservative organizations we represent - the real victims of this IRS targeting scheme. Our expanded lawsuit continues to move forward."
"As Congress continues with its investigation, with a key House committee moving to put top IRS official Lois Lerner back on the witness stand, we are confident we will get to the bottom of this abusive and harassing conduct by the IRS. We will continue to work on behalf of our clients to ensure that justice is served, their damages are addressed, and ultimately get to the bottom of who ordered this unlawful and unconstitutional targeting scheme and why.
"There are many questions that still need to be answered: Who was involved? Who had knowledge of this scheme? How could the White House counsel and White House chief of staff know about this tactic but the President did not? We are confident that those responsible for this scheme ultimately will be held accountable - no matter how long it takes."
Likewise, True the Vote Public Relations Director Logan Churchwell said that they have yet to hear from the FBI regarding any investigation of the IRS.
"We've been contacted by the FBI during our time as an IRS targeted group-we've had six contacts with the FBI-but that was by their Domestic Terrorism Task Force in Houston asking how we were doing. But, in terms of the IRS being investigated by the FBI, we have yet to be contacted," said Churchwell. "We haven't had contact with the IRS since our last round of questioning from them. Everyone's been pretty quiet," he added.
Jenny Beth Martin, national coordinator for Tea Party Patriots, said they have reached out to their network of groups and found that they are still waiting to hear from the FBI, as well.
"We have reached out to our network of Tea Party Patriots groups and no one was contacted by the IRS since Lois Lerner revealed the IRS was indeed targeting and discriminating against tea party groups. We are aware the that IRS was in touch with Catherine Englebrecht from True the Vote and perhaps one other group from Florida prior to Lois Lerner's revelation," said Martin.
"Since Lois Lerner, the IRS and the White House have admitted the IRS targeted groups with 'Tea Party' and 'Patriots' in their name, we certainly hope that the FBI contacts us at Tea Party Patriots, since we were the primary victim of this blatant, admitted, and potentially unlawful targeting," she added.
Martin stressed that those responsible should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law to discourage future IRS targeting of other citizens.
On June 13, FBI Director Robert Mueller could not name the lead investigator in the case while being questioned before the House Judiciary Committee. At this time, it was about one month into the announced probe into the IRS.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) asked Mueller, "Can you tell me who the lead investigator is?" Mueller replied, "Off the top of my head, no." Jordan then stated, "It's the most important issue in front of the country in the last six weeks, and you don't know who's heading up the case, who the lead investigator is?" Mueller responded that, at the current juncture, he could not name the lead investigator.
CNSNews.com made several attempts to reach out to the FBI for comment. None were successful.