Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Transcripts Dismantle GOP Talking Points on IRS

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA)
From the Business Insider

... [Rep. Elijah] Cummings released transcripts with an IRS screening group manager described as a "conservative Republican," who said that the targeting of the Tea Party groups applying for tax-exempt status started with low-level workers in Cincinnati. The witness also said that there was no communication on the targeting with any senior IRS officials or with anyone in Washington or the Obama administration. 
Democrats have posted the key portion of the transcript here, in which the manager says he initially was made aware of a case involving a Tea Party group when an agent "asked for guidance." He agreed with the agent that there "wasn't enough information" to determine whether the group should have a tax-exempt status, and said he elevated the issue to his "area manager." 
The manager also said an official in the exempt organizations division in Washington was "pleased with the decision to elevate this case," but suggested there wasn't a political role in the targeting. 
"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...
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD)
Republicans had been alleging that there was a link between what had been going on in the IRS' Cincinnati office and Washington and that Washington, possibly even the administration, had issued orders for the IRS to specifically target conservative/Tea Party groups for stricter scrutiny when it came to awarding tax-exempt status. That link has yet to materialize and the evidence that has been uncovered thus far seems to point away from a Washington-based cause. 

Rep. Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said he would release the transcripts from the House investigation, but stopped short of doing so. The ranking Democrat on the committee, Elijah Cummings, threatened to release the transcripts if Issa refused to do so. Cummings made good on his threat, and it seems evident why Issa did not want the transcripts released: the transcripts did not backup the GOP narrative of this supposed Obama scandal. The GOP should have gotten the facts before throwing around accusations.

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