The Department of Justice has denied a request by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to have a special prosecutor look into allegations that the Internal Revenue Service unfairly targeted conservative groups.
Cruz sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder in January asking for the Justice Department to appoint a special prosecutor to look into actions by the tax collecting agency.
In a letter dated March 10 and made public Wednesday, the Justice Department said that a special counsel is typically appointed when “an investigation or prosecution by the DOJ presents a conflict of interest, or in other extraordinary circumstances, such that the public interest would be served by such an appointment.”
The letter, which was signed by Peter Kadzik, the principal deputy assistant attorney general, says the request was denied because a conflict of interest did not exist.
Cruz, a possible 2016 GOP presidential candidate, has taken the lead against the IRS in the scandal that broke last summer.
During this year’s recent Conservative Political Action Conference – an annual conference held just outside D.C. for the GOP’s core conservatives - Cruz once again called for the dismantling of the IRS.
His comments came one day after Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of the controversy, refused to tell a congressional committee what she knew about the scandal.
Last year, just hours before the House Appropriations Committee held its first hearing over possible political targeting by the IRS, Cruz suggested the best way to handle the agency’s list of problems was to dismantle it entirely.