Attorney General: IRS Probe Could Avoid Potential Civil Rights Violations

WASHINGTON (May 15, 2013)—The Holder says the FBI's criminal investigation of the Internal Revenue Service could include potential civil rights violations, false statements and potential violations of the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in some partisan political activities, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday.

Holder, testifying to the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, was asked what criminal charges could be pursued against IRS employees.

Holder announced on Tuesday that the Justice Department was the investigating the IRS after the agency acknowledged that agents had singled out conservative groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status.

Holder also says it will take time to determine if there was criminal wrongdoing.

The White House says President Barack Obama will meet with Treasury officials Wednesday to discuss the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups for special review.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Mr. Obama expects people to be held accountable.

The meeting comes in the aftermath of an internal Treasury investigation that found the IRS improperly selected conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status for further appraisal.

Carney sidestepped a question about whether Mr. Obama still had confidence in acting IRS commissioner Steven Miller, saying he wouldn't discuss personnel matters.

He said Mr. Obama has expressed his overall view that IRS personnel had acted inappropriately.

Carney says Mr. Obama wants the public to "understand and believe that the IRS applies our tax laws in a neutral and fair way to everyone."

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