Democrats say ‘conservative’ IRS employee refutes charges of White House meddling
June 9th, 2013
10:35 AM ET
10 years ago

Democrats say ‘conservative’ IRS employee refutes charges of White House meddling

(CNN) – A “conservative Republican” manager of Cincinnati-based IRS screeners told congressional investigators there was no evidence the White House was involved in the agency’s targeting of conservative groups, according to the Democratic leader of a committee probing the scandal.

This refutes claims by some Republicans that the groups were targeted at the direction of political operatives working to get President Barack Obama re-elected, said Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday.

“He is a conservative Republican working for the IRS. I think this interview and these statements go a long way to showing that the White House was not involved in this,” he said.

Further, Cummings said the interviews conducted by the House Oversight Committee were conclusive enough for the investigation to be considered complete.

“Based upon everything I’ve seen, the case is solved,” he said. “If it were me, I would wrap this case up and move on.”

Rep. Darrell Issa, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee, told CNN’s “State of the Union” last Sunday that interviews with workers in the Cincinnati IRS office indicated the targeting of conservative groups was "a problem that was coordinated in all likelihood right out of Washington headquarters - and we're getting to proving it."

“My gut tells me that too many people knew this wrongdoing was going on before the election, and at least by some sort of convenient, benign neglect, allowed it to go on through the election,” Issa said. “I’m not making any allegations as to motive, that they set out to do it, but certainly people knew it was happening.”

But in the interview excerpts released by Cummings, the charge of political motivation is refuted by the Cincinnati manager, who described himself to investigators as a “conservative Republican.”

“I do not believe that the screening of these cases had anything to do other than consistency and identifying issues that needed to have further development,” the manager said, according to the document released by the Democratic staff of the Oversight Committee.

The excerpts indicate the manager was later asked whether he had “any reason to believe that anyone in the White House was involved in the decision to screen Tea Party cases.”

The manager replied “I have no reason to believe that.”

Like Issa, Cummings released only portions of the investigators’ interview with the manager, despite CNN’s request for the full transcript. On “State of the Union,” Cummings said he has repeatedly called for Issa to release the full interview transcripts, and if Issa chooses not to by the end of the week, he would release the full interviews himself.

In the excerpts Cummings did release, the manager tells interviewers that it was his decision to send one particular application in 2010 to the Washington tax-exempt office – not for political reasons, but rather so a precedent could be set for later cases where screeners suspected a group of conducting political activity.

“In his interview he said over and over again, ‘I want it to be consistent.’ So that's how all of this got started. Period,” Cummings said.

Responding later Sunday, Issa said Cummings' assertion the investigation was solved was "extreme and reckless."

"The testimony excerpts Ranking Member Cummings revealed today did not provide anything enlightening or contradict other witness accounts," Issa said. "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."

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

Filed under: IRS • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Rob

    It should be far from over. Those involved should be removed. As it is, one of the very supervisors have been promoted. It's not resolved at all. The corrupt are still there. If not Obama, surely his staff knew about it and for Obama to support their continued employment is a slap in the face of EVERY American

    June 9, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  2. Gt

    You are a lemming not donkey..wake and take your blinders off

    June 9, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  3. flower1

    "The manager replied “I have no reason to believe that.”"

    I reply too "I have no reason to believe that" what manager tells us.

    June 9, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  4. jomisam

    The emphasis that this employee is a conservative Republican makes me wonder whether in actuality he is a Democratic plant.

    June 9, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  5. Rick Fischer

    Fast & Furious, NSA, Benghazi, IRS, AP, none of these are actually scandals. Not because they are not extremely serious; not because no administration officials are involved; not because there wasn't great incompetence, or that the administration hasn't done all it could to keep the details hidden. Nope, they are not scandals because Obama is a Democrat.

    Now Valerie Plame, that was a scandal. It was so serious that Valerie and her husband became celebrities and reaped huge money from it. And the Bush administration kept it so secret that the prosecutor knew the whole story from day one, that it was a simple careless comment by the Democrat Richard Armitage. Nope, Plame was a scandal because Bush is a Republican.

    And so it always is with Democrats.

    June 9, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  6. Monomachos

    The statement by one employee who seas that he "doesn't think the order came from Washington" does not exonerate the WH. There are witnesses who have testified that orders did come from Washington and there are many others, especially higher ups, to be interviewed, so all this means is it is too early to draw conclusions, one way or the other. Patience.

    June 9, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  7. Kirsten

    Issa is a liar.Waste and time on money on these stupid so-called scandals while my husband if fighting for benefits for his disbality during the iraq war. How come Issa and all those republicans help the vets out? Spend hearings on that and the scandal how the government has ignored them for 10 plus years now. Where are you people who rather waste time on this but not our vets?

    June 9, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  8. Steve

    Easy to find out how high this goes. This was criminal and it should involve criminal prosecution. We know where to start with the questioning of where this originated. Offer leniency to all but the last witness and you'll find out how it goes. These people won't be paid to go to prison.

    June 9, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  9. Dan

    Anyone that doesn't believe the IRS and the EPA went after conservative organizations is an idiot.

    June 9, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  10. Ferd

    This is confusing. The IRS admitted to targeting conservative groups. So why does this guys' words carry more weight than the IRS?

    June 9, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  11. Name Uche Agonsi

    The Repubs are in a state of desparation. This has gone to far. They prefer to hurt Americans to see anything good in Obama. Then they turn back to blame the WH. It does not end in their fishing games, there are also politics of hatred, Congressional gridlocks, budgetary deadlocks, denials of tax payments, unemployment creations by both overseas investments & sequestrations, opposition to Health Reforms for the poor , the list is endless. The question is how long can America survive such politicking.

    June 9, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  12. Data Driven

    Back to the drawing board, eh, wingnuts?

    June 9, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    I am now convinced that when anyone from this administration or its supporters say anything, you can be sure that reality is the exact opposite.

    June 9, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  14. MaryM

    Well, well , lookie there, Issa is The Liar. And just look at the GOPers scatter, just like the little weasels they are. How many manufactured scandals is that now, huh GOPers. Do you think the Americans people are going to forget about your obstruction of Americas business> Hell no

    June 9, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  15. Bring Federal Charges

    Well, if an IRS employee says it, it must be true! Good try but, no. The investigation into this profiling of and discrimination against conservatives is just getting started. And this is the same IRS that will be the enforcers for Obamacare? I don't think so.

    June 9, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
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