Sunday, May 26, 2013

 

Lindsey Graham calls for special body to investigate Justice Department

Graham says recent scandals involving IRS and seizure of journalists' records warrant establishment of special counsel.

Senator Lindsey Graham called Sunday for a special independent counsel to be set up to investigate the Justice Department's monitoring of journalists' records and the IRS's targeting of rightwing groups.
Republican Graham, from South Carolina, claimed the tracking by officials of Fox News' James Rosen, and the seizure of email and phone logs – undertaken in a a bid to flush out the source of a leaked information – amounted to a clear overreach.

And in reference to another scandal dogging the Obama administration – apparent bias against Tea Party groups by tax officials, who singled out certain conservative-leaning organisations for greater scrutiny – Graham told Fox News Sunday that it looked to be "an organised effort within the IRS".

Both warrant the establishment of a special counsel, the Republican said.

Last week, President Obama ordered attorney general Eric Holder to hold a review into the Department of Justice's guidelines governing its investigations into journalists, sparked by the revelations over Rosen and the seizure of phone and email records from the Associated Press. A report on the issue is due to be returned to the White House in mid-July.

But some critics claim that this does not go far enough. Moreover concern has been raised that Holder is not best placed to hold an investigation into practices at his own department. In the case of Rosen, the attorney general signed off on the affidavit that named the Fox reporter as a potential criminal.

"You cannot investigate yourself," Senator Tom Coburn told CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday, adding that in represented an inherent conflict of interest.

Echoing Republican colleague Graham's views, he called for a separate body to oversee the investigation.
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Respect for the truth is almost the basis of all morality.
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