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Fri, 18 Jul 2014 02:44:52 +0000
(WASHINGTON) -- Top Department of Justice official James Cole faced tough questions from a House Committee on Capitol Hill on Thursday, addressing an investigation into the disappearance of former IRS official Lois Lerner's emails.
Cole, Deputy Attorney General, said no politics were involved in the DOJ's probe of the Internal Revenue Service, and no decisions have been made on whether to criminally charge any employees.
Last month, the IRS revealed it lost two years’ worth of Lerner’s emails when her hard drive crashed in 2011. The vanished emails spanned January 2009 to April 2011 -- exactly when the alleged IRS targeting of conservative groups “was occurring regularly,” as two Republican lawmakers recently put it.
In January, the House Republicans leading the congressional probe into the IRS scandal sent a letter to Holder, questioning the “integrity of the DOJ/FBI investigation.”
Specifically, the letter from Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, noted that a federal prosecutor who has donated nearly $7,000 to President Obama’s political campaigns and other Democratic causes was coordinating the Justice Department’s investigation.
Testifying before the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee Thursday, Cole defended the investigation, telling members that Congress will be given detailed information once the investigation has been completed.
"We recognize the committee's interest in this matter. We share that interest and are conducting a thorough and complete investigation and analysis of the allegations of targeting by the IRS," Cole said.
He also acknowledged that the IRS gave confidential taxpayer data to the FBI in 2010, an "inadvertent error" that affected only 33 of 12,000 forms.
Aside from confirming the FBI's dedication to the matter, Cole didn't reveal much on the process but assured the committee that attorney's involved in the investigation are unbiased.
"They work to try and find out what the facts are, what the law is, apply the facts to the law and let the chips fall where they may," he said.
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