WASHINGTON – House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), in a letter sent today to Ranking Member Elijah Cummings, rejected the top Democrat investigator’s public statements that the Committee should end its investigation into the IRS targeting of conservative political groups.
“Your public comments that ‘the case is solved’ and that you would ‘wrap this case up and move on’ stand in stark contrast to the facts,” Issa writes. “There is still much that we do not know about how and why certain applications for tax-exempt status were denied, delayed, or otherwise received heightened scrutiny from the IRS.”
“The Committee has received conflicting information about the origins of that scrutiny; the Committee does not know why applications from Tea Party groups experienced significant processing delays after they were identified; the Committee does not know why the IRS sent these groups inappropriate and intrusive information request letters; and the Committee does not know why senior IRS officials misled and failed to inform Congress about these serious problems in response to direct questions from Committee Members and staff.”
“Your decision to publicly announce that the investigation should wrap up was irresponsible, but not surprising. However, your push to release entire transcripts from witness interviews while the investigation remains active was reckless and threatened to undermine the integrity of the Committee’s investigation.”
Issa explains, “Limited releases of testimony may also serve to empower other witnesses to become whistleblowers and serve to vindicate individuals who have been subjected to criticism or retaliation at the hands of their managers… On the other hand, if a full transcript were released, it would serve as a roadmap of the Committee’s investigation. The transcript could be used by future witnesses and their attorneys to prepare answers to likely questions, and to devise testimony consistent with the narrative that previous witnesses presented to Committee investigators.”
“In the past month, both President Obama and Acting Commissioner Werfel have acknowledged the need for a robust Congressional investigation into abuses at the IRS,” the letter continues. “The Committee intends to fulfill that need.”
“The Committee must—and will—conduct an exhaustive investigation. The American people demand and deserve nothing less,” Issa states.
You can read the letter here.