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WASHINGTON – A top House Republican is demanding the Department of Justice hand over contact information on a former employee accused of having a conflict of interest in the IRS targeting scandal investigation.
In a Sept. 3 letter, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, once again asked Attorney General Eric Holder for information on Andrew Strelka’s whereabouts.
“Despite notifying [Oversight and Government Reform] Committee staff that the [Justice] Department no longer employs Mr. Strelka, the department has refused to assist the committee in speaking to Mr. Strelka directly,” Jordan wrote. “The department’s efforts to prevent the committee from learning Mr. Strelka’s whereabouts suggest the department has cause for keeping him from speaking with the committee.”
Jordan says he wants Strelka’s contact information so the Oversight Committee can conduct a transcribed interview. The letter gives Holder a Friday deadline for the information.
The DOJ has addressed the Strelka issue in the past, saying he is no longer an employee. They have also said that the department is “already conducting an active investigation” into the IRS matter.
In August, Jordan along with House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., pressed the DOJ for information on Strelka.
The lawmakers claimed in that letter that Strelka, who was employed as an attorney at the Justice Department’s tax division, until recently represented the IRS in civil lawsuits filed over the targeting. However, Strelka used to work under IRS official Lois Lerner in the exempt organizations division of the IRS.
Lerner was the IRS’s exempt organizations director when Tea Party and other conservative groups were scrutinized when applying for tax-exempt status.
The lawmakers claim that Strelka’s relationship with Lerner should have prevented him from being involved in the investigation.
They also say they have emails that show that during his tenure Strelka was directly involved in the targeting of conservative groups. In one case, they point out, Strelka was informed by a manager to be on the “lookout” for a Tea Party case.
According to a May 21, 2012, memo from the IRS Deputy Associate Chief Counsel: “such information was not needed across-the-board and not used in making the agency’s determination on exempt status.”
Later, in her May 10, 2013, remarks in which Lerner first revealed in response to question she planted about the IRS targeting of conservative groups, she conceded that the requests for donor names was “not appropriate, not usual.” The new documents obtained by Judicial Watch also reveal that 75% of the groups from whom the lists were solicited were apparently conservative, with only 5% being liberal.
Lois Lerner's "Secret Research Project" Revealed