Sen. Orrin Hatch hits Justice Department over IRS probe

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A top Republican on Tuesday accused the Justice Department of rushing to judgment for reportedly deciding not to file criminal charges over the Internal Revenue Service’s controversial actions toward advocacy groups during the 2010 and 2012 election cycles.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that the FBI does not plan to file criminal charges in connection with the investigation.

The information, credited to “law-enforcement officials,” contradicted a statement FBI director James Comey made to reporters last week, when he said investigators are still working on the case and that it’s “an important one for us.” 

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) - Pete Marovich/Bloomberg
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) – Pete Marovich/Bloomberg

In a statement on Tuesday, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) accused the Justice Department of “irresponsible leaks before the investigation is concluded.” He added that making a decision before the investigation is completed “seems entirely out of order and inappropriate.”

The Justice Department, which ultimately decides whether to file charges over the investigation, declined to comment on the matter Tuesday.

Last week, Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee criticized the Justice Department for appointing career trial attorney Barbara Bosserman, a donor to President Obama and the Democratic National Committee, to play a lead role in the IRS investigation.

MORE: Obama donor leading Justice Department’s IRS investigation

The Justice Department said federal law prohibits the agency from taking an employee’s political leanings into account before making personnel decisions and that its attorneys can perform their duties without bias despite making campaign contributions.

Follow Josh Hicks on TwitterFacebook or Google+. Connect by e-mail at  josh.hicks@washpost.comVisit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics for more federal news. E-mail federalworker@washpost.com with news tips and other suggestions.

Josh Hicks covers the federal government and anchors the Federal Eye blog. He reported for newspapers in the Detroit and Seattle suburbs before joining the Post as a contributor to Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker blog in 2011.
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