WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Wednesday warned top officials at the Internal Revenue Service that criminal laws on false statements could come into play in a Justice Department investigation on the agency's targeting of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Appearing at a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee, Mr. Holder said the investigation would examine whether groups of individuals had their civil rights criminally violated and whether statutes governing I.R.S. conduct were violated.
After repeated accusations from senior lawmakers that top I.R.S. officials had lied to them, Mr. Holder also issued a warning: "False-statement violations might have been made, given at least what I know at this point."