The I.R.S. “scandal” that was, at least according to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), going to rock the White House to the core and force Barack Obama out of office turns out to be about as devastating as a popcorn fart.
Democrats on the House Oversight Committee have just released a full transcript of testimony from a key witness in the investigation of IRS targeting of conservatives — and it appears to confirm that the initial targeting did originate with a low-level employee in the Cincinnati office.
It also shows a key witness and IRS screening manager – a self described conservative Republican — denying any communication with the White House or senior IRS officials about the targeting.
The ranking Dem on the committee, Elijah Cummings, has promised that the account provided by the witness — the IRS manager in Cincinnati who supervised the screeners of applications for tax exempt status, the self-described conservative Republican — would undercut Committee chairman Darrell Issa’s suggestion that the decision to target conservative groups had originated in Washington.
Cummings released the full transcript today in twoparts, making it initially available to a select group of reporters, with redactions of names of individuals, and accompanied it with a letter to Issa explaining his decision, in which Cummings concludes that the transcript “debunks conspiracy theories about how the IRS first started reviewing these cases.”
This comes after Cummings had previously insisted Issa release the full transcript himself, arguing it would show that the Republican chairman’s claims of White House involvement are false, and that Issa’s own selective release of testimony was misleading the public. Issa refused, insisting that releasing full transcripts would damage the investigation. Cummings then asked Issa to detail what specifically in the transcript would do this, and demanded an answer by yesterday. According to Cummings’ letter, Issa has yet to reply — hence the decision to go forward with the release today.
Mr. Issa came out with a statement blasting Mr. Cummings for releasing the transcripts: “Americans who think Congress should investigate IRS misconduct should be outraged by Mr. Cummings’ efforts to obstruct needed oversight.” Translation: “You peed all over my blatant attempt to turn a lower-level mistake in Cincinnati into my ride into the history books! Curses!”