The Testimony Issa Suppressed: Self-Described Conservative Republican IRS Official Said He Initiated Extra Scrutiny on Tea Party

Chairman Issa

Reuters:

A U.S. Internal Revenue Service manager, who described himself as a conservative Republican, told congressional investigators that he and a local colleague decided to give conservative groups the extra scrutiny that has prompted weeks of political controversy.

In an official interview transcript released on Sunday by Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings, the manager said he and an underling set aside “Tea Party” and “patriot” groups that had applied for tax-exempt status because the organizations appeared to pose a new precedent that could affect future IRS filings.

Cummings, top Democrat on the House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee conducting the probe, told CNN’s “State of the Union” program that the manager’s comments provided evidence that politics was not behind IRS actions that have fueled a month-long furor in Washington.

“He is a conservative Republican working for the IRS. I think this interview and these statements go a long way toward showing that the White House was not involved in this,” Cummings told CNN’s “State of the Union” program.

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

Cummings, a Maryland Democrat, said he would release a full transcript of the committee’s interviews with IRS officials by the end of this week, if the panel’s Republican chairman, Representative Darrell Issa, does not…

The excerpts of interviews with IRS workers released by Cummings indicate that the IRS manager and an underling first decided to contact Washington, D.C. IRS officials for guidance on the cases from groups aligned with the anti-tax Tea Party movement.

They did so to consolidate them, as they might be precedent-setting for future cases, the manager said, according to the interview transcripts.

It was an unidentified Cincinnati IRS worker who reported to the manager, identified as John Shafer by committee aides, who identified the first Tea Party case. That individual has not been interviewed by the committee yet.

Investigators asked Shafer if he believed the decision to centralize the screening of Tea Party applications was intended to target “the president’s political enemies.”

“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 answered, according to a transcript released by Cummings.

Asked if he believed the White House was involved, the manager replied: “I have no reason to believe that.”

John Shafer could not be reached for comment.

3 Comments

  • June 11, 2013 - 7:13 am | Permalink

    Why is someone with a criminal background like Issa allowed on an oversight board?
    Anyone heard how his closed door meeting on Bengahzi went, he is silent on it, must not have gone his way either!

  • Paula
    June 11, 2013 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    He’s on the oversight committee for the same reason Michelle Bachmann is on the intelligence committee: the congressional republicans are a bunch of partisan losers.
    Issa’s treatment of Eric Holder in his kangaroo hearings was full of animosity.

  • Paula
    June 12, 2013 - 10:51 am | Permalink

    I just issa’s offices in Vista and DC….could get no info on IRS or Benghazi..his staff put you on another line to leave a message..I was able to say that I thought Issa has lost all credibility.

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