New Twist in IRS Scandal: Is Darrell Issa Hiding Something?

Is a top House Republican hiding information that would exonerate the White House from involvement in the IRS scandals?

Charles Dharapak/AP

Elijah Cummings, the ranking member of the government oversight and reform committee, sent a strongly worded letter on Thursday demanding that the committee’s chairman, Darrell Issa, identify any information in the committee’s interviews with IRS employees that was deemed too controversial to be publicly released.

In the letter, Cummings cites the transcript of an interview with screening manager in the Cincinnati office that he claims would exonerate the White House of involvement in the IRS’s actions and make clear that the IRS’s review of tax-exempt organizations was solely the product of agents in Cincinnati and not ordered from Washington.

Cummings demanded that the committee chairman identify any information in the screening manager’s transcript that should not be released and gave him a deadline of June 17 to do so.

Issa, a Republican, has resisted releasing the full transcripts of the government oversight committee’s interviews with IRS employees. Although in a CNN interview Issa indicated he would put out the transcript, he has since backtracked, claiming that it would be “reckless” and “undermine the committee’s investigation” into whether the IRS targeted conservative and Tea Party groups that were attempting to claim tax-exempt status.

Issa has yet to respond to the letter, but it serves to raise the stakes in the controversy over the IRS’s actions and to increase demands for more public disclosure of the oversight committee’s findings.