WASHINGTON D.C. – The news that the FBI has begun contacting some of the tea party groups signals that some action has been taken.
“After seven months of no contact from federal investigators, a small number of our clients recently received a request for an interview from the FBI,” said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law & Justice, which represents more than three dozen groups.
He said the clients were evaluating FBI’s request but were troubled by the revelation of Ms. Bosserman’s political leanings.
“This development creates a serious conflict of interest and raises more questions and doubts about the Obama administration’s promise to get to the bottom of what happened,” he said.
The IRS internal auditor found that the agency singled out tea party groups for intrusive scrutiny, with agency investigators asking questions about groups’ reading lists, members’ political affiliations and volunteer histories, and work with other tea party groups.
Later revelations showed that some liberal groups also were caught up in the special scrutiny, but not to the level of the tea party-affiliated organizations.
It’s unclear how many of the hundreds of tea party groups that were targeted have been contacted by the FBI during its investigation.
Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer who represents some groups, said none of her clients heard from investigators. She said that represents a failing of the investigation.
“Normally, don’t you first interview the victims? I mean, I’ve watched enough cop shows over the years. You interview the victims. You don’t interview the perp,” she said.
The FBI declined to comment on its investigation and referred a reporter to a letter it sent to Mr. Issa late last month outlining some of its efforts but declining his request for documents from the investigation.
“We would request that the committee permit the investigators to complete their investigation and consult with federal prosecutors, as appropriate, to determine whether the evidence reveals a prosecutable violation of any statutes within our jurisdiction,” Stephen D. Kelly, assistant director for the FBI’s office of congressional affairs, said in the Dec. 31 letter. “As a result, we cannot provide the documents requested at this time while the criminal investigation is active and ongoing.”
Asked about the investigation and Ms. Bosserman’s role in leading it, House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, said he was troubled by a pattern of obstruction from the Obama administration.
“The administration has not been forthcoming with regard to the IRS investigation. Furthermore, they’ve not been forthcoming when it comes to the Benghazi investigation or Fast and Furious,” he said. “And the administration can try to stonewall as much as they want, but these issues are not going to go away. The American people have a right to know the truth. And for the administration that came in five years ago promising to be the most transparent administration in history, they’ve got a very poor record.”