Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07) today called on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a Special Counsel to investigate fully and independently the targeting by the IRS of the Administration's political opponents and to prosecute to the fullest extent any perpetrators who abused their government roles.
Lance's announcement comes following today's decision by top Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner to invoke her Fifth Amendment right not to testify before a congressional committee for fear of self-incrimination -- depriving the American people of answers they deserve.
"The recent IRS scandal is both appalling and unconscionable, and today we learn that the IRS official who first disclosed the agency's improper targeting of conservative groups two weeks ago appears unwilling to give the American public the answers they deserve," said Lance. "It is my opinion that a special counsel to investigate the IRS scandal is what is necessary to get a full explanation for the IRS agency's actions and ensure that those responsible are held accountable."
The Seventh District lawmaker also has called for the passage of legislation to strengthen taxpayer protections and ensure that the IRS treats all taxpayers fairly and in a non-partisan and non-discriminatory manner.
H.R. 1950, the "Taxpayer Nondiscrimination and Protection Act," aims to prevent biased, politically-motivated discrimination and seeks to strengthen taxpayer protections in current law by making it a crime for IRS employees to execute targeting discrimination.
"The trust of the American people has been severely damaged. The first steps in restoring this trust is to appoint an unbiased Special Counsel to investigate this practice of targeting individuals and groups based on their political views, prosecuting the perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law and enacting safeguards to prevent this type of discrimination from ever happening again," concluded Lance.