The cunning Mr. Cummings

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa has posted a statement on the IRS investigation that responds to Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings’ announced intention to post the full investigative interview of IRS employee John Shafer online. Cummings has now posted the transcript here (part 1) and here (part 2), as the Washington Post reports. Here is Issa’s statement in its entirety:

I am deeply disappointed that Ranking Member Cummings has decided to broadly disseminate and post online a 205 page transcript that will serve as a roadmap for IRS officials to navigate investigative interviews with Congress. After unsuccessfully trying to convince the American people that IRS officials in Washington did not play a role in inappropriate scrutiny of Tea Party groups and declaring on national television that the case of IRS targeting was ‘solved’ and Congress should ‘move on,’ this looks like flailing. Americans who think Congress should investigate IRS misconduct should be outraged by Mr. Cummings’ efforts to obstruct needed oversight.

In the course of this fact based inquiry, Ranking Member Cummings has wrongly argued that questions about IRS conduct are somehow not legitimate. His own previous release of excerpts from this very same transcript undermines his claims that the Committee is somehow trying to keep some specific revelation from public view.

Just last week Cummings declared that “the [IRS] case is solved.” In a clarification of his otherwise mystifying statement, he explained that “the witch hunt needs to end.” For “witch hunt,” read “investigation.”

Having failed to shut the investigation down, Cummings is performing public relations on behalf of Obama and trying to complicate, if not obstruct, the committee’s investigation. Whence the desperation? What do these folks have to hide?

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