Cummings Responds to Issa’s Reversal on Releasing Full IRS Transcripts
Washington, DC—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued the following statement in response to a letter from Committee Chairman Darrell Issa reversing his position on releasing the full transcripts of IRS employees who informed the Committee that the White House was not involved in any way with targeting Tea Party applicants:
“Now that this new evidence directly contradicts the Chairman’s unsubstantiated accusations, it appears that he is suddenly reversing himself and refusing to let the American people see the full story. Although the Committee interviewed a self-identified ‘conservative Republican’ who denied any White House involvement or any political motivation for screening Tea Party cases, Chairman Issa now appears to be going back on his promise to release the full interview transcripts of IRS employees. Chairman Issa changes his mind so fast that even when I agree with him, we’re not on the same page. I fully support responsible oversight, but cherry picking transcript excerpts to fuel partisan and unsubstantiated claims is not a credible or effective way to investigate.”
On June 2, 2013, Issa released selected excerpts of transcribed interviews with IRS employees during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union With Candy Crowley.” When pressed, Issa promised to release all the transcripts, raised no concerns about doing so, and put no conditions on his commitment:
CROWLEY: Why don’t you put the whole thing out? Because you know our problem really is—and you know that your critics say that Republicans and you in particular sort of cherry pick information that go to your foregone conclusion, so it worries us to put this kind of stuff out. Can you not put the whole transcript out?
ISSA: The whole transcript will be put out. We understand—these are in real time. And the administration is still—they’re paid liar, their spokesperson, picture behind, he’s still making up things about what happens in calling this local rogue. There’s no indication—the reason the Lois Lerner tried to take the fifth is not because there is a rogue in Cincinnati, it’s because this is a problem that was coordinated in all likelihood right out of Washington headquarters and we’re getting to proving it.
Issa’s office has been allowing only select reporters to review the transcripts of only some interviews, but denying others the ability to do so. On Sunday, Cummings sent a letter calling on Issa to release the full transcripts publicly.
Rep. Charles Boustany of Louisiana, a senior Ways and Means Republican who chairs the panel’s Oversight subcommittee, criticized Issa’s tactics, saying the release of partial excerpts could “adversely alter our ability to get future information from other IRS employees.”
“Just simply from a process standpoint, you don’t want to do that and alter what others might say,” Boustany told POLITICO. “I really am concerned that it could tip this into the political realm rather than a true detailed investigation to get the facts out.”