May 13, 2013
Phoenix Business Journal
Mike Sunnucks

Republicans continue to have a political field day with the Internal Revenue Service targeting tea party and other conservative critics of President Barack Obama with audits and special scrutiny.

U.S. Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., has written U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asking for an independent special counsel be appointed to look into the IRS flap. The East Valley lawmaker also does not trust the Obama administration with internal investigations, citing the Justice Department’s seizing of Associated Press phone records as part a security leak case.

“I am requesting that Attorney General Holder appoint an independent and third party investigative body to further examine who ordered this targeting and how far up the chain of command it went,” Salmon said.

“Furthermore, the fact that the Justice Department recently admitted to secretly obtaining phone records from Associated Press journalists provides even more evidence that they have no credibility to lead an investigation of this magnitude.”

The White House issued a statement from Obama last night on an inspector general’s report on the IRS audit.

“The federal government must conduct itself in a way that’s worthy of the public’s trust, and that’s especially true for the IRS,” Obama said. “The IRS must apply the law in a fair and impartial way, and its employees must act with utmost integrity. This report shows that some of its employees failed that test.”

The Salmon letter comes a day after U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., introduced a new bill specifically prohibiting the IRS from targeting political opponents of the sitting presidents and requiring regular reports to Congress.

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