Cummings steps up push for full IRS transcripts

Cummings’s letter is the latest salvo between the top two lawmakers on the Oversight panel, who have both released partial transcripts of interviews in recent weeks. Cummings said last weekend that he would release full transcripts this week, if Issa chose not to.

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Issa has said that Cummings’s request to release full transcripts was “reckless” and would threaten the bipartisan investigation into the IRS’s treatment of Tea Party groups seeking tax-exempt status.

Partial transcripts, Issa said this week, could embolden future whistle-blowers, while a full transcript would give IRS staffers in Washington a better sense of where the congressional inquiry is headed.

Investigators from House Oversight and the House Ways and Means Committee have already interviewed at least five IRS staffers.

Transcripts reviewed by reporters have shown that D.C. officials at the IRS took a deep interest in Tea Party cases, and Issa has said the targeting was “directly being ordered from Washington.” Issa has also accused Cummings of showing no interest in bipartisan investigations into President Obama and his administration.

Cummings has lashed out that Issa and other GOP lawmakers toss out accusations, and then try to prove them. He also continues to stress that no there is no evidence yet tying the targeting to the White House, and has said that transcripts show that the first Tea Party case was flagged in a Cincinnati office that deals with tax-exempt applications.

The Maryland Democrat, in his latest letter, also made clear that he has serious problems with how the Oversight chairman is looking into the IRS matter, even as he called for more bipartisan cooperation.

Cummings, who has accused Issa of cherry-picking information with his partial transcripts, said the California Republican’s approach would give a heads-up to other IRS staffers as well. He also noted that Issa had previously said he’d release full transcripts.

“Based on the totality of your actions to date, it seems very difficult for you to argue now that releasing the full transcripts to the public will somehow compromise the integrity of the Committee’s investigation,” Cummings said on Thursday.

Rep. Charles BoustanyCharles William BoustanyPartial disengagement based on democratic characteristics: A new era of US-China economic relations Lobbying world March tariff increase would cost 934K jobs, advocacy group says MORE (R-La.) said Thursday that both Issa and Cummings were in the wrong to release transcripts, and said the investigation should be kept under wraps until the interviews were completed.

“I’m not happy with the fact that any of this has been released at this stage. It’s still too early in the investigation,” Boustany told The Hill.

“I’m afraid that if you start releasing information prematurely, it starts to affect the quality of information you get in subsequent interviews. So I’m not happy about. I would like to see it stop.”


This post was updated at 3:59 p.m.