Another 'Smidgen of Corruption' in the IRS Scandal
Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder this week demanding that he hand over contact information for a former IRS attorney with ties to Lois Lerner.
Jordan, chairman of the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Job Creation and Regulatory Affairs, said in the letter he is requesting the contact information for former Department of Justice attorney Andrew Strelka. “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.”
Prior to joining DOJ, Strelka worked for former IRS executive Lois Lerner. He was the recipient of an email that directed him to “[b]e on the look out for a tea party case.” The email went on to say, "If you have received or do receive any case in the future involving an exemption for an organization having to do with tea party, let me know."
While working at DOJ, Strelka represented the IRS in Z Street v. Koskinen, a civil suit related to the IRS targeting of conservative groups. He was suddenly removed from the case in July after reports surfaced about his time spent working for Lerner. Jordan says it was a "startling conflict of interest" for Strelka to represent the IRS in the case. Strelka maintained a relationship with Lerner following his departure from the IRS and, according to Jordan, "completed a detail in the White House before being mysteriously removed" from the Z Street case.
Strelka's LinkedIn profile says that he is currently employed at Miller and Chevalier Chartered, a Washington, D.C., law firm. A spokesman for Congressman Jordan told the Columbus Dispatch that the committee tried to contact Strelka through information they found online, but “Mr. Strelka did not respond.”
According to Jordan's letter, the Justice Department "interjected itself" into the committee's efforts to contact Strelka and "even chided the Committee for attempting to contact Mr. Strelka directly."
The Ohio Republican reminded Holder that obstructing a congressional investigation is a crime and "denying or interfering with a federal employee's rights to furnish information to Congress is against the law." However, Jordan said he is not surprised, given the Department of Justice's history of obstruction and obfuscations.
Brian Fallon, a Justice Department spokesman, said in response to Jordan's request, "As the Chairman’s staff is already aware, the committee’s request to speak with Mr. Strelka is being fielded by the department. The department will be responding to the committee’s request promptly.”
Rep. Jordan is demanding that Holder provide contact information by noon on Friday so the committee can schedule a transcribed interview "directly outside the prejudicial influence of the Justice Department."