Cummings Issues New Report on IRS Screening; Releases Excerpts from All 39 Witness Interview Transcripts
No White House Involvement or Political Motivation Identified
Washington, D.C. (May 6, 2014)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued a new report with detailed information regarding the Committee’s year-long investigation of IRS screening of applicants for tax-exempt status.
The report makes public key portions of all 39 transcribed interviews conducted by Committee staff of witnesses from the IRS and the Treasury Department. Based on these interviews, the report makes the following findings regarding the tax-exempt application process:
No Evidence of White House Involvement:
The detailed and lengthy interviews conducted over the past year show definitively that none of the 39 witnesses interviewed by Committee staff identified any evidence whatsoever to support Republican accusations that the White House was involved in any way with the screening of tax-exempt applications.
No Evidence of Political Motivation:
In response to extensive questioning, none of the 39 witnesses reported any political motivation on their part, and none of the 39 witnesses reported ever observing any other individuals involved in the screening process acting on behalf of the White House or out of any political motivation.
Evidence Indicates Lack of Adequate Guidance and Need for Better Management:
When questioned by Committee attorneys about documents, emails, and other information, the witnesses explained repeatedly—and consistently—that IRS employees needed better guidance on how to process applications for tax-exempt status and were attempting to treat applications in a consistent manner.
The witnesses interviewed by the Committee include employees who identified themselves as Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and individuals with no political affiliation. They included employees from the IRS offices in Cincinnati and Washington D.C. at every level—from Screening Agents to the former IRS Commissioner to the Chief of Staff to the Treasury Secretary.
The often day-long interviews consisted of prolonged questioning by multiple Committee attorneys that explored every possible allegation covered by the investigation.
These first-hand accounts directly refute the accusation made by Committee Chairman Darrell Issa on national television that “This was the targeting of President’s political enemies effectively and lies about it during the election year.”
Although Issa claims that releasing the transcripts could provide future witnesses with a “roadmap” to the Committee’s questions, he has repeatedly leaked excerpts of the transcripts and allowed select reporters to review multiple transcripts in their entirety.
In addition to the report, Cummings issued the following statement:
“Now that the American people can actually see what each one of these 39 witnesses told the Committee—including even conservative Republican employees at the IRS—it is clear that there was no White House involvement or political motivation in the screening of tax exempt applicants, contrary to the accusations made by Chairman Issa before we began this investigation. I continue to believe that the full transcripts should be made publicly available so the American people can read all the facts for themselves.”
Read the full report here.