The White House rejected calls on Friday for a special prosecutor to look into lost IRS emails and the inappropriate targeting of conservative groups, saying Republican investigations have failed to find a smoking gun.
Both the Internal Revenue Service and the administration have already demonstrated “extensive cooperation” with Republicans in Congress, Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said, adding there have been 750,000 pages of documents provided, as well as 64,000 e-mails from then-IRS division chief Lois Lerner.
“Our willingness to cooperate with this investigation is evident from the numbers,” Earnest said, charging that a “a large number of claims and conspiracy theories that have been floated about this process by Republicans just have not panned out, frankly.”
Earnest said the White House will continue to cooperate, but he dismissed the suggestion of an independent prosecutor.
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“After 13 months of multiple congressional investigations including 14 congressional hearings, 30 interviews with IRS employees, 50 written congressional requests and as I mentioned, 750,000 pages of documents, there's zero evidence to support Republican claims,” Earnest said. “These are investigations that have a pretty transparent political motive, so I'm not sure that there's a whole lot more to be discovered.”
He noted there had been an inspector general investigation that found no evidence that anyone outside the IRS were involved in the inappropriate targeting of conservative groups who applied for tax exempt status.
“Frankly we'd prefer that Republicans would devote this kind of attention and energy to policies that are actually going to create jobs as opposed to partisanship fishing expeditions,” Earnest said.