WASHINGTON – Ahead of Wednesday’s House hearing to consider contempt charges against IRS official Lois Lerner, Attorney General Eric Holder pleaded ignorance when asked whether or not he had access to the tax information he needs to conduct a thorough investigation of the IRS targeting of conservative groups.
At a hearing Tuesday of the House Judiciary Committee, he again denied any misconduct within his Justice Department.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., asked Holder whether he had access to the information needed to probe Lerner.
“I don’t know,” Holder responded.
“I’m not sure I’ve had that degree of granularity. But I have access to tax information pursuant to the investigations that we conduct,” he said.
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, asked Holder whether the Justice Department prosecuted filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza for political reasons while choosing not to investigate Lerner.
As WND reported, Gerald Molen, the producer of D’Souza’s two feature film documentaries, “2016: Obama’s America,” released in 2012, and the about-to-be-released “America,” characterized D’Souza’s criminal indictment on campaign-finance charges as a Soviet-style “political prosecution.”
Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, added, “I’m committed to maintaining the constitutional balance of power and the authority that this legislative branch has, and I just don’t think it’s appropriate that Mr. Holder be here. If an American citizen had not complied with one of the Justice Department’s subpoenas, they would be in jail and not sitting here in front of me testifying.”
The Republican-controlled House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, meanwhile, issued a report last month in which it concluded Lerner ‘led efforts to scrutinize conservative groups while working to maintain a veneer of objective enforcement.”
At the hearing Tuesday, Holder denied any misconduct.
King asked: “My question, really, is have you prosecuted anyone in this administration, have you, have you empaneled a grand jury, have you investigated anyone in this administration? Because it looks to me that those folks that are on the other side of the aisle are getting extra scrutiny and those on your side of the aisle are getting no scrutiny.”
Holder replied: “I put my record up against any other attorney general, any other Justice Department.”
The attorney general insisted “any hint that we have engaged in anything that is partisan or inappropriate in nature I totally, 1,000 percent reject.”
Also at the hearing, as WND reported, Holder engaged in a testy exchange with Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, in which the congressman confronted him with the Justice Department’s refusal to turn over documents related to the prosecution of an Islamic charity.
Gohmert reminded Holder of repeated requests for records given to defense lawyers in the case of the Richardson, Texas-based Holy Land Foundation, whose founders were convicted of funneling $12 million to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.
“I realize that contempt is not a big deal to our attorney general,” Gohmert said, referring to House votes in 2012 finding Holder in contempt for failing to turn over documents related to the Justice Department’s response to the Operation Fast and Furious gun-running scandal.
“You don’t want to go there, buddy,” Holder retorted. “I believe that was inappropriate and unjust; but never think that was not a big deal to me.”