By: Jason Easley
By releasing the full transcript of interview with the IRS Screening Group manager, Rep. Elijah Cummings has proven that Rep. Darrell Issa lied about Obama’s involvement in the IRS scandal.
Rep. Cummings absolutely destroyed Issa’s conspiratorial claims that Obama was masterminding the IRS scandal:
This interview transcript provides a detailed first-hand account of how these practices first originated, and it debunks conspiracy theories about how the IRS first started reviewing these cases. Answering questions from Committee staff for more than five hours, this official—who identified himself as a “conservative Republican”—denied that he or anyone on his team was directed by the White House to take these actions or that they were politically motivated.
Instead, the Screening Group Manager explained that the very first case at issue in this investigation was initially flagged by one of his own screeners in February 2010. He told us he agreed that this case should be elevated to IRS employees in Washington because it was a “high profile” application in which the organization indicated that it would be engaging in political activity. He explained that he initiated the first effort to gather similar cases in order to ensure their consistent treatment, and that he took this action on his own, without any direction from his superiors, and without any political motivation. He also confirmed that one of his screeners developed terms subsequently identified by the Inspector General as “inappropriate,” such as “Patriot” and “9/12 project,” but that he did not become aware that his screener was using these terms until more than a year later.
These statements from the Screening Group Manager directly contradict several serious and unsubstantiated accusations made by you and several other Republican Committee Chairmen over the past month. For example:
• On May 14, 2013, you stated: “This was the targeting of the president’s political enemies effectively and lies about it during the election year, so that it wasn’t discovered until afterwards.” …
Rep. Elijah Cummings–ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee–made good on his promise to release more transcripts from the committee’s interviews with workers at the Cincinnati IRS. Despite protests from chairman Darrell Issa, Cummings made available Tuesday the full interview of the IRS Screening Group Manager, who handled groups applying for tax-exempt status.
“This interview transcript…debunks conspiracy theories about how the IRS first started reviewing these cases,” Cummings wrote in a letter to Issa. “Answering questions from Committee staff for more than five hours, this official—who identified himself as a ‘conservative Republican’—denied that he or anyone on his team was directed by the White House to take these actions or that they were politically motivated.”
The “conspiracy theories” Cummings mentions were disseminated by Issa himself. On May 14th, Issa said unequivocally, “This was the targeting of the president’s political enemies effectively and lies about it during the election year, so that it wasn’t discovered until afterwards.” But he had no evidence to support this claim.
After a bipartisan group of committee members interviewed workers at the Cincinnati IRS, Issa opted to release only suggestive excerpts of the transcripts. When CNN’s Candy Crowley pressed him to release the remainder on State of the Union earlier this month, Issa assured her that he would. When he did not, Cummings promised to release the interviews himself. “There’s nothing in those transcripts that I’m afraid of,” he said.