Gregory Korte, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON -- A House subcommittee wants the Department of Justice to come to Capitol Hill next week to testify about what it's doing to investigate the targeting of political groups by the Internal Revenue Service, but Justice Department lawyers say they're not coming.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, wants to hear from Barbara Bosserman, the Justice Department lawyer leading the investigation into whether IRS agents acted criminally when they held up tax exemption applications for Tea Party groups.
Bosserman has come under fire by congressional Republicans because she's contributed $6,100 to Obama's campaigns since 2008, Federal Elections Commission records show.
But the Justice Department said discussing the case publicly would only further politicize it, and that neither Bosserman nor anyone else would discuss it.
"The Department's longstanding policy, applied across administrations, is to decline to provide Congress with non-public information about ongoing criminal investigations. This policy is intended to protect the effectiveness and integrity of the criminal justice process, as well as the privacy interests of third parties," wrote Deputy Attorney General James Cole in a letter to Jordan. "It also is founded upon our commitment to avoiding any perception that our law enforcement efforts are subject to undue influence from elected officials."
In a reply Friday, Jordan said there's "no legitimate basis for a blanket refusal to answer questions" and gave the Justice Department until Monday to reconsider. He did not say what recourse he would take.
Last May, Attorney General Eric Holder directed the Federal Bureau of Investigation to look into the practices of the IRS's Cincinnati Office after the tax agency admitted it had improperly held up the tax exemption applications of Tea Party and other groups from 2010 to 2012.