If this world were mine, now would be the time I’d have House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA, pictured) brought out on to the House floor and bombarded with thousands of bird seeds — a fitting ending for a conservative congressman who used his position of power to cluck about a damn scandal he made up in his mind.
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I’m sure Issa wouldn’t completely object to this display. After all, Issa loves attention and has proved to make something out of literally nothing to secure it.
So be it.
But you’d think by now he’d be better at his job.
Thankfully, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md., pictured) is good at his and has proceeded to release the full transcript of a key interview with an IRS employee that proves the White House had absolutely nothing to do with select employees of the agency targeting conservative-leaning groups leading up to the 2012 elections.
Republican and Democratic committee staffers, alike, spoke with IRS official John Shafer about the IRS’ decision to further scrutinize a Tea Party group’s application for tax-exempt 501(c)(4) status. A self-identified “conservative Republican,” Shafer reportedly said “that he and a fellow screener initially flagged a Tea Party group and continued to do so with subsequent applications in order to maintain consistency in the process.”
Moreover, Shafer noted that his team flagged the first Tea Party application due to it appearing to be “a high-profile case, and he wanted to make sure all high-profile cases received similar attention.”
More from The Huffington Post:
What I’m talking here is that if we end up with four applications coming into the group that are pretty similar, and we assign them to four different agents, we don’t want four different determinations, he said. It’s just not good business. It’s not good customer service.
Asked plainly, ‘Do you have any reason to believe that anyone in the White House was involved in the decision to screen Tea Party cases?” Shafer replied, “I have no reason to believe that.”
‘Do you have any reason to believe that anyone in the White House was involved in the decisions to centralize the review of Tea Party cases?’ he was asked. I have no reason to believe that, he replied.
Asked if he had ‘ever communicated with [then IRS] Commissioner Shulman about the screening of Tea Party cases?’ He replied, ‘I have not.’
Interviewers also asked Shafer if he told his screeners to specifically pull Tea Party cases. ‘Again, I was not asking them for those kind of cases,’ he said. ‘[I]f I would have directed them to pull our Tea Party cases, little Susie’s Tea Party would have been pulled and it wasn’t.’
This is the part where one goes, “Boom, in yo’ face!” or “You tried it!”
Your response may be generational, but we can all agree here that Issa kept this dragging along without any proof of wrongdoing on the White House’s end. It also goes to show that Issa should never try to test Cummings again.
In a letter written to Issa, Cummings wrote:
Despite your multiple reversals on this issue, there appears to be one constant in your approach: you have not shared one word from the interview transcript of the IRS Screening Group Manager in Cincinnati who provided the most relevant information about how this process began.
Not to be outdone, the congressman and Civil Rights pioneer added, “I do not believe this approach is a responsible, fair, or legitimate way to conduct the Committee’s investigation.” Cummings even told Issa that “you have not provided any compelling or consistent rationale for continuing to conceal this information from Members of Congress or the American public.”
It’s because of Issa and a media that refuses to correct politicians they know are yapping without reason and facts for the sake of ratings that 47 percent of Americans believe that the White House had something to do with the IRS targeting Tea Party-affiliated groups as revealed in a new poll.
Hopefully, Cummings toppling Issa’s argument with you know, the full story, might finally put the fatal in this fallacious narrative.
Nevertheless, it should never have gotten this far. The Darrell Issas of the world will always be fishing for a headline and booked for a Sunday morning talk show appearance.
So be it.
But must we take the bait every single time?
Michael Arceneaux is a Houston-bred, Howard-educated writer and blogger. You can read more of his work on his site, The Cynical Ones. Follow him on Twitter: @youngsinick
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