In a letter sent to the Chairman on Thursday, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) asked Issa to review interviews with IRS officials he intends to release and “identify any specific text you believe should be witheld from the American people.”
The interview Cummings seeks to release allegedly shows a Screening Group Manager in Cincinnati admitting that the first instance of targeting conservative groups occurred after a screener “highlighted the first Tea Party case in February 2010.” The manager, a Republican, identified the case as “high profile” and sent it to technical officials in Washington for guidance. He also assured investigators that he “took this action on his own, without any direction from his superiors, and without any political motivation.” Cummings’ letter also notes that another IRS screener confessed to developing the inappropriate targeting terms like “Patriot” and “9/12” and began using them in his searches.
“You chose to make very serious and unsubstantiated allegations before the Committee had conducted even a single interview of any IRS employees, you chose to unilaterally release select excerpts from these interviews to try to support your claims,” Cummings says in his letter. “Based on the totality of your actions to date, it seems very difficult for you to argue now that releasing the full transcripts to the public will somehow compromise the integrity of the Committee’s investigation.”
Issa has called White House Press Secretary Jay Carney a “paid liar” and suggested that someone in the White House was aware of the inappropriate screening. He initially promised to release all of the Committee’s documents, but later claimed that publicizing the full results of the Oversight Committee’s investigation would “needlessly jeopardize the integrity of the investigation and hamper the Committee’s ability to get to the truth.”
Several Republicans have also criticized Issa’s tactics, calling on him to release the full transcripts from the Committee’s investigations. “Let’s see everything. Let’s see it all,” Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) told a local station. ” And let’s see all the transcripts and you know let’s have a fair, objective analysis of this.”
Issa will have until Monday to respond to Cummings’ request.