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The IRS mess: Name a special prosecutor

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Saturday, April 12, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Mounting evidence in the IRS targeting scandal increasingly suggests politically motivated coordination, collusion and perhaps even conspiracy. And that makes clearer than ever the need for a special prosecutor to get to the bottom of this affair.

Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., contends newly released emails show his House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's ranking Democrat, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, worked with the IRS to attack True the Vote, a conservative group that sought tax-exempt status.

Mr. Issa also contends Mr. Cummings and the IRS improperly kept the committee in the dark about those contacts — and that the IRS improperly discussed confidential taxpayer information in working with Cummings.

Meanwhile, the House Ways and Means Committee has referred the case of now-retired IRS official Lois Lerner, who was in charge of decisions on tax-exempt status, to the Justice Department for prosecution. It did so after uncovering new evidence that she worked actively with liberal groups to target Karl Rove's conservative Crossroads GPS for extra scrutiny.

But Justice can't be trusted to investigate this scandal, much less prosecute. And these latest revelations make Attorney General Eric Holder's March refusal to appoint a special prosecutor seem even more damningly self-serving.

Until a special prosecutor uncompromised by Holder's obvious conflict of interest is appointed, the notion that the IRS indeed has something to hide will only be reinforced.

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