The ranking Democrat on the committee investigating the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups said Sunday the case is “solved.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) released partial transcripts of a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform interview with an unnamed IRS manager in the agency’s Cincinnati office, which conducted the extra scrutiny of Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status. According to the transcript, the manager — who identified himself as a “conservative Republican” — said he had no reason to believe the White House was involved in any way.
“Do you have any reason to believe that anyone in the White House was involved in the decision to screen Tea Party cases?” the interviewer asked. “I have no reason to believe that,” the manager replied.
Instead, the manager said when they received the first Tea Party case in 2010, they forwarded it to the exempt organizations unit in Washington for guidance because it was a “high-profile issue” — not because of the political ideology involved. According to the transcript, they developed the system for reviewing similar cases in order to be consistent across the board with groups they suspected of conducting political activity.
“Based upon everything I’ve seen, the case is solved. And if it were me, I would wrap this case up and move on, to be frank with you,” Cummings said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Cummings was specifically hitting back at charges made by House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) that the IRS targeting likely went through Washington.
Issa responded to Cummings’ assertion that the case was “solved” by calling it “extreme and reckless.”
“The testimony excerpts Ranking Member Cummings revealed today did not provide anything enlightening or contradict other witness accounts,” Issa said in a statement. “The only thing Ranking Member Cummings left clear in his comments today is that if it were up to him the investigation would be closed. Fortunately, the decision to close the investigation is not his to make.”