Shouting to be heard after having his microphone cut, an incensed Rep. Elijah Cummings exploded at Rep. Darrell Issa during a committee hearing Wednesday, accusing the House Oversight Committee chair of running a “one-sided investigation” into the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups.
Cummings (D-Md.) is the committee’s ranking Democratic member and has repeatedly accused Issa (R-Calif.) of politicizing the investigation.
“You cannot run a committee like this. You just cannot do this,” Cummings declared. “We’re better than that as a country. We’re better than that as a committee.”
Ignoring the fact that Issa had gaveled the session out, Cummings continued with his remarks even after Issa ordered his microphone turned off.
Issa adjourned the hearing after Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of the agency’s targeting scandal who invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, went before the committee but again refused to answer questions regarding her role in applying additional scrutiny to conservative groups.
Lerner responded to each of Issa’s questions by invoking the Fifth Amendment.
The California congressman eventually explained that there was “no point going forward” with the session and gaveled out the hearing.
But Cummings protested, explaining that he had a “procedural question.”
“The meeting is adjourned,” Issa told Cummings.
“I don’t care. The fact is that I’m a asking a question. I am a ranking member of this committee and I want to ask a question,” Cummings said.
Issa took his seat.
“What are we hiding? What’s the big deal?” Cummings asked.
“You’re all free to leave,” Issa said, “we’ve adjourned. But the gentleman may ask his question.”
Cummings thanked him for the opportunity to speak, eventually leading Issa to ask: “What is your question?”
“Let me say what I have to say. I’ve listened to you for the last 15 or 20 minutes! Let me say what I have to say!” Cummings said. He then announced he had some “brief points” he wanted to make, prompting Issa to say, “we’re adjourned. Close it down.”
A furious Cummings continued with his remarks, shouting to be heard.
“Mr. Cummings,” Issa said, “where is your question?”
“If you will sit down and allow me to ask a question! I am a member of a Congress of the United States of America! I am tired of this! We have members over here, each who represents 700,000 people! You cannot just have a one-sided investigation. It is absolutely something wrong with that and it is absolutely un-American!” Cummings shouted.
“We had a hearing. The meeting’s adjourned. I gave you an opportunity to ask a question. You have no question,” Issa said.
“Mr. Chairman, what are you hiding?” Cummings said as Issa exited the hall.
This post has been updated.
Programming note: What could the government be covering up when it repeatedly ignores requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act? Find out what investigative journalists and watchdog organizations are uncovering about the IRS scandal on Wednesday’s ‘For The Record’ only on TheBlaze TV at 8 p.m. ET. You can even watch a special episode preview before the show.
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