Judicial Watch Continues Fight over IRS Criminal Investigation Facts
Seeks Information on Obama, Democrat Donor Barbara Bosserman’s Involvement in IRS Investigation
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch is asking a federal appellate court to overturn a lower court’s ruling allowing the Obama Justice Department to withhold records detailing the number of hours that agency attorney Barbara Bosserman expended on the investigation of the IRS targeting of conservative groups seeking tax exempt status during the 2010 and 2012 elections cycles. The opening appellate brief was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on February 16, 2016 (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 15-5271)).
This lawsuit forced the Obama Justice Department to confirm the existence of a criminal investigation into the IRS’ abuses and that Bosserman, a major donor to Obama’s political campaigns and the Democratic National Committee, was part of the team of lawyers criminally investigating the issue. (On October 23, 2015, the Justice Department announced in a letter that it would not press any charges over the IRS abuse scandal.)
In 2014, Judicial Watch filed a 2014 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeking records detailing the number of hours Bosserman expended on the IRS matter. In 2015, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the agency had properly withheld the Bosserman records under the “attorney work product doctrine.” Judicial Watch argues to the appellate court:
[T]he Department presented no evidence whatsoever that the records requested by Judicial Watch were created in anticipation of litigation. The District Court also did not make such a finding. Instead the Department argued and the court ruled that some of the information contained in the responsive records was protected by the attorney work product doctrine. Because the requested records were created in the ordinary course of business – to assist senior officials in their management responsibilities – the records do not fall within the scope of the attorney work product doctrine. The records are being improperly withheld in their entirety.
In early January 2014, then-Attorney General Eric Holder reportedly appointed Bosserman to oversee the IRS investigation despite her substantial political activities. According to Federal Election Commission records, Bosserman contributed $6,750 to Obama’s campaigns and the DNC from 2004 to 2012, including 12 separate contributions to Obama for America between 2008 and 2012. Then- House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform chairman Darryl Issa (R-CA) called the Bosserman appointment “a startling conflict of interest [that has] compromised the Administration’s investigation of the IRS.”
“All Judicial Watch wants is the number of hours that the Obama donor/Justice Department lawyer spent investigating the worst IRS abuse in American history,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The failure to bring charges in the IRS scandal only adds to the public interest in finding out more details about the involvement of the Obama/Democratic Party donor in the criminal investigation.”