Fox guarding the hen house.

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department put an avowed political supporter of President Obama in charge of the criminal probe into the IRS’s targeting of tea party groups, according to top Republicans who said Wednesday that the move has ruined the entire investigation.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan said they’ve discovered the head of the probe is Barbara Kay Bosserman, a trial lawyer in the Justice Department who donated more than $6,000 to Mr. Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns, as well as several hundred dollars to the national Democratic Party.

“The department has created a startling conflict of interest,” House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan said in a letter, reviewed by The Washington Times, which was sent Wednesday. “It is unbelievable that the department would choose such an individual to examine the federal government’s systematic targeting and harassment of organizations opposed to the president’s policies.”

The IRS’s internal auditor revealed last May that the agency had been inappropriately targeting and blocking applications for tax-exempt status from tea party and conservative-leaning groups, and in the immediate aftermath Mr. Obama promised the FBI and Justice Department would investigate whether the IRS broke any laws.

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