“Conservative Republican” Manager in Charge of IRS Screeners in Cincinnati Denies Any White House Involvement or Political Influence in Screening Tea Party Cases
Washington D.C. —Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to Committee Chairman Darrell Issa with new information about the Committee’s six-hour transcribed interview with a self-identified “conservative Republican” manager who led a team of IRS screeners in Cincinnati as they reviewed applications by Tea Party groups for tax exempt status. The manager, who served as an IRS civil servant for 21 years, denied Chairman Issa’s claim of White House involvement in targeting conservative groups, defended the actions of his team as attempting to ensure consistency and focus on the facts and circumstances of individual cases, and rejected any suggestion that political considerations played a role in his actions or those of his screeners. Cummings’ letter also forwarded a staff memo with detailed information obtained during the Committee’s investigation that Issa has not disclosed publicly.
Cummings’ letter condemned Issa’s approach to multiple investigations since he became Chairman of the Oversight Committee, including Operation Fast and Furious, Benghazi, and now the IRS:
“Your actions over the past three years do not reflect a responsible, bipartisan approach to investigations, and the Committee’s credibility has been damaged as a result. Your approach in all of these cases has been to accuse first, and then go in search of evidence to back up your claims. Rather than apologizing or correcting the record when the evidence does not fit your narrative, you have selectively leaked excerpts of interview transcripts, documents, and other information, and you have withheld evidence that directly contradicts your claims, is exculpatory, or provides a more complete and fair understanding of the facts.”
Instead, Cummings called on Issa to work together in a bipartisan manner to take three key steps going forward:
- develop consensus findings based on the evidence before the Committee;
- release publicly the transcripts of all interviews conducted by Committee staff, after making limited redactions to protect individual privacy; and
- issue a comprehensive and bipartisan report with recommendations adopted by the full Committee.