John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Time for an Independent Investigation of the IRS

Posted on May 13, 2013

At midnight on June 30, 1999, the statute that authorized the Independent Counsel Act expired.

That act had allowed Ken Star to investigate President Clinton.  It had also allowed several independent counsels to investigate Reagan appointees like Ed Meese, Ray Donavan and Samuel Pierce.

Lawrence Walsh investigated George H.W. Bush’s role in Iran-Contra and found the most advantageous time to release his report to maximize the advantage for the Democrats.

In other words, both Republicans and Democrats grew to hate the Office of Independent Counsel, and they both let it die a natural death.

The fact that it died in 1999 didn’t necessarily mean that the investigations ended.  In fact, Robert Ray continued his investigation of the Clinton Administration until 2001.

The Office of Special Counsel is not to be confused with the Department of Justice of Special Counsel.  One is an independent agency that protects Civil Service employees from unfair personnel practices.  The other is charged with investigating alleged misconduct in the Executive Branch.


The Office of Special Counsel is headed up by Carolyn Lerner.   Before I wrote this blog piece, I had never heard of her.   Her job is to protect whistle-blowers.  It is unclear if she is going to help protect Greg Hicks, who blew the whistle on the Benghazi debacle.

The Department of Justice’s brand of Special Counsel used to be headed up by Patrick Fitzgerald.  He helped put Scooter Libby in jail.  He also helped to put Rob Blagojevich in the slammer in his position as a US Attorney in Illinois.    I think he is the former Special Counsel, because he has a day job as a lawyer for one of the top private law firms in Chicago, although he is still listed as the guy running the Justice Department Office of Special Counsel.

I bet you there is no politics when you work for the top Chicago law firm in the country, especially with President Obama in the White House (he wrote ironically).

Eric Holder is the one who is supposed to appoint a Special Counsel to investigate corruption in the executive branch.   Holder is probably the most politically aggressive Attorney General since Robert Kennedy.   He is as loyal to Obama as John Mitchell was to Richard Nixon.

My guess is that he probably won’t launch much of an investigation into this brewing IRS scandal and if he does, it won't amount to much.   But that would be a real disservice to the Federal Government in general and the White House specifically.   Only a real investigation will restore credibility to this Administration.


Perhaps the President didn’t know that his underlings were aggressively auditing Tea Party Groups and anybody who cared inordinately about the Constitution, but they were, and that requires an aggressive investigation from somebody who doesn’t have a vested interest in furthering the Obama agenda.

Mr. Holder should recuse himself, and have somebody with credibility within his Department (I wonder if there is anybody left), to name a real Special Counsel with real teeth.

Republicans in the House should pass a new Independent Counsel law and send it to the Senate.  And then Mitch McConnell should get Democrats to vote on that House-passed reauthorization.  Let’s see where Democrats really stand on the issue of protecting the Constitution.