A special prosecutor is not necessary to investigate the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups, President Obama said this afternoon. His announcement comes despite calls from a number of conservative lawmakers urging the Justice Department to assign a special counsel to lead an investigation into the matter.
“I think that it’s going to be sufficient for us to be working with Congress, they’ve got a whole bunch of committees, we’ve got IGs already there, the IG has done an audit; it’s now my understanding they’re going to be recommending an investigation,” the president explained. “Between those investigations I think we’re going to be able to figure out exactly what happened, who was involved, what went wrong, and we’re going to be able to implement steps to fix it.”
High-profile Republican politicians disagree. Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal and Wisconsin governor Scott Walker — the chairman and vice chairman of the Republican Governors Association — sent a letter to the president calling on him to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate whether IRS employees broke the law.
President Obama maintained today that he was not aware the IRS was targeting conservative groups until last Friday, when news of the inspector general’s report was leaked to the press, but dodged the question about whether anybody in the White House possessed that knowledge.
Silent on what others in the executive branch may have known, he said, “I can assure you that I certainly did not know anything about the IG report before the IG report had been leaked to press.”