Holding Holder Accountable
The IRS scandal has accelerated with the agency’s declaration that it “lost” thousands of emails from Lois Lerner—the senior official at the center of the controversy—to the White House, Treasury, Justice Department, and other outposts of Democratic Party progress. How convenient. Republicans are outraged: the emails, they suspect, provide more evidence that the IRS had been targeting conservative groups in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election. Calls for a special prosecutor are mounting. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp sent a letter to President Obama demanding “an immediate investigation and forensic audit by an independent special investigator.” National Journal columnist Ron Fournier wants “a fiercely independent investigation.”
But as readers of the new book by John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky, “Obama’s Enforcer: Eric Holder’s Justice Department,” will recognize, that ain’t gonna happen—there will be no independent special investigator. Why? Because the only man with the power to appoint a special prosecutor is Attorney General Eric Holder. Fund and von Spakovsky detail how Holder acts as a “heat shield” for the administration, protecting the president from a growing series of scandals, while transforming the Justice Department into a stronghold of left-wing activism.
The authors are no babes in the wood. They know the games people play in Washington. Fund is a longtime political reporter and a legendary figure in the conservative press. Von Spakovsky, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, served on the Federal Election Commission and in the Justice Department. Von Spakovsky told Judicial Watch that in the IRS scandal, the latest email revelations are “clear evidence that DoJ is not conducting a serious investigation. If it were, it would have seized these email records immediately, when it supposedly first opened its criminal investigation.”
In addition to providing a catalogue of the attorney general’s dicey moves, political partisanship and outright outrages during the Obama administration, “Obama’s Enforcer” reminds us the past is prologue, sketching Holder’s tenure as tenure as deputy attorney general in the Clinton Justice Department. Among his notable accomplishments there: shooting down requests by special prosecutors and greasing the skids for a pardon of fugitive money man Marc Rich.
If Congress wants an independent special prosecutor, it will have to renew the Ethics in Government Act, which it allowed to expire in a rare moment of bipartisan horror over the aggressive clean-ups of Iran-Contra and Whitewater. If Republicans maintain the House and win control of the Senate in November, they can bring back the independent counsel. Meanwhile, we’ll have to depend on the likes of Fund and von Spakovsky to hold Holder accountable.