Issa Says Washington Directed IRS Scrutiny of Conservative Groups
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., made some bold accusations during his exclusive appearance on CNN's State of the Union Sunday morning. Namely, Issa said an IRS employee testified under oath the Cincinnati office at the center of the Tea Party scrutiny scandal received that direction from Washington. He also called White House press secretary Jay Carney a lair. "Their paid liar, their spokesperson, the picture behind, he’s still making up things about what happened and calling this a local rogue," said Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee. (Carney was pictured behind Issa on set.) "The reason the Lois Lerner tried to take the fifth is not because there is a rogue in Cincinnati, it's because this is a problem that was coordinated in all likelihood right out of Washington headquarters and we're getting to proving it," he added. Issa was trumpeting a big get, in his mind, when one IRS agent apparently said they were receiving direction from Washington during the IRS investigation. Issa provided the transcript to CNN ahead of his interview, but host Candy Crowley wasn't as convinced as Issa. Her reading of the transcript:
The investigator said, "so is it your perspective that ultimately the responsible parties for the decisions that were reported by the IG," that is the decision that target tea party and Patriot applications, "are not in the Cincinnati office?"
The employee says, "I don't know how to answer that question. I mean, from an agent standpoint, we didn't do anything wrong. We followed directions based on other people telling us what to do."
Investigator, "and you ultimately followed directions from Washington, is that correct?"
The employee, "if direction had come down from Washington, yes."
The investigator, "but with respect to the particular scrutiny that was given to Tea Party applications, those directions emanated from Washington, is that right?"
The employee answers, "I believe so."
It's totally not definitive.
But Issa is determined that his committee will prove the White House is lying and that they demanded the Tea Party groups get extra attention."This is a problem that was in all likelihood right out of Washington headquarters," Issa said. "We’re getting to proving it." Then he unloaded some Detective Mulder level truth-seeking rhetoric: "What we have is people who have to come in and transcribe interviews. They’re saying under penalty of crimes that certain things are true. We have subpoenaed documents that would support that that they say emails went back and forth," Issa said. "We will learn the whole truth." It's probably out there.