Rep. Esty Votes with Republicans Requesting Special Counsel Investigate IRS


Democratic Rep. Elizabeth Esty voted with the Republican majority in the house Wednesday to ramp up the investigation into alleged targeting of conservative groups by the IRS.

Esty, D-5, joined 25 other Democrats and the Republican majority to direct US Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special counsel to investigate the scandal.

“I strongly believe our government regulatory agencies must be neutral and nonpartisan. It is completely unacceptable for the Internal Revenue Service or any other federal agency to target groups or individuals based on their political views. Public confidence in the impartiality of tax collection is extremely important to the integrity of our system,” Esty said in a statement Thursday when asked about her vote.

Conservatives criticized a probe launched last year as not being independent.
Esty, who faces a tough re-election battle against conservative Mark Greenberg, said she had concerns whether the initial probe was “sufficiently independent.”

The IRS was accused of applying more scrutiny to conservative political groups who sought tax-exempt status.

Lois Lerner, former Director of Tax Exempt Organizations at the IRS, has invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination. 

Republicans, including Greenberg, want Lerner held in contempt of Congress for her refusal to answer questions.

“We can not have agents of the federal Government using their power to target people they disagree with and all Americans, of all ideologies, should realize that while they may not be the target today, there may come a day when they are,” Evans said via e-mail.

The GOP-led House of Representatives also voted in favor of holding Lerner in contempt of Congress. 

Esty didn’t vote in favor of holding Lerner in contempt and called the move “unacceptable to play political games with the U.S. constitution.”

“My job as a U.S. Representative is to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution. Every American deserves constitutional protections. Thirty independent legal experts, including former Supreme Court clerks and legal experts from both parties, have concluded that the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s hearing violated Ms. Lerner’s constitutionally-protected rights,” Esty said in a statement. “The Supreme Court has held that a witness does not waive her Fifth Amendment rights by professing her innocence.”


Rep. Esty Votes with Republicans Requesting Special Counsel Investigate IRS

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