Cleta on the Cummings case

Washington superlawyer Cleta Mitchell represents True the Vote, one of the groups illegally targeted by the IRS in the scandals that have exposed the agency as a partisan operation. True the Vote’s Catherine Engelbrecht has been harassed by federal law enforcement authorities representing three different federal agencies. They represent the price of politics in the Age of Obama.

As John notes below, yesterday the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee released emails that show Democratic staffers communicating with the IRS about True the Vote. It appears that Elijah Cummings, the committee’s ranking Democrat and therefore the Congressman to whom these staffers reported, may have lied during a committee hearing when he denied that his staffers had put the IRS on the trail of True the Vote. The emails show the Democrats calling True the Vote to the IRS’s attention and requesting records about that organization, which Lois Lerner was anxious to provide them.

We reached out to Cleta to ask if she might be able to shed light on the news that broke yesterday. She responded: “This is the supplement to the ethics complaint filed [by Cleta on behalf of True the Vote] on Feb 6. I think one of the questions is what EXACTLY the IRS provided to Cummings staff. And what other communications between Cummings staff and, say, the SEIU or White House counsel might have occurred.” Cleta has kindly forwarded a copy of her letter dated April 9 supplementing the Ethics Committee complaint filed previously against Cummings. She tells us that she is filing the letter this morning:

April 9, 2014

The Honorable Porter Goss, Chairman
The Honorable David Skaggs, Vice-Chairman Office of Congressional Ethics
U.S. House of Representatives
P.O. Box 895
Washington, DC 20515-0895

Re: Supplement to Complaint Against Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) – Filed February 6, 201 4 -Request for Investigation by Office of Congressional Ethics (“OCE”)

Dear Chairman Goss and Vice-Chairman Skaggs:

On February 6, 2014, my client, True the Vote, filed a Complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics (“OCE”) against Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), seeking an investigation of Rep. Cummings, his staff and the Minority Staff of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (“the Committee”), to ascertain what role, if any, Rep. Cummings and/or the staff of his personal office or the Committee Minority Staff, including but not limited to Deputy Staf Director/Chief Counsel Susanne Sachsman Grooms or other staff members (“the Staff ‘) played in instigating the onslaught of federal agency targeting of True the Vote and its President, Catherine Engel brecht. We further asked OCE to investigate whether Rep. Cummings and/or the Staff played any role in the discriminatory and abusive treatment experienced by True the Vote by the IRS during the pendency of True the Vote’s application for exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. We have asked the OCE to ascertain whether Rep. Cummings and/or the Staff have abused and misused their position(s) in the House of Representatives against True the Vote and its principals in violation of House Rules.

The rules of the U.S. House of Representatives impose basic standards of honesty, integrity and public service on all Members, Officers, employees and staff of the House, to-wit:

A Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House shall conduct himself at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House. [House Rule 23, clause 1.]

We have requested OCE to conduct the investigation into possible violation by Rep. Cummings and/or the Staff of this provision of the House Rules.

Today we have learned that, indeed, Rep. Cummings and the Staff deliberately singled out True the Vote and sought – and obtained – information about True the Vote from the IRS potentially in violation of federal law.

We hereby supplement our February 6, 2014 Complaint filed with OCE, renewing and reiterating our request for investigation of these taxpayer funded efforts against True the Vote. Only OCE and the House Ethics Committee have the ability to conduct a proper investigation of these serious concerns. Only OCE and the House Ethics Committee can seek and receive documents, emails and materials from these House employees and Rep. Cummings. Only OCE and the House Ethics Committee can interview those who are i n a position to disclose the full and complete story of the concerted efforts to attack, abuse and violate the constitutional rights and federal laws protecting True the Vote and its principals, specifically Catherine Engelbrecht, from such governmental abuse.

Attached you will find the letter published today which details the improper and potentially illegal interactions between Rep. Cummings, the Staff and the IRS.

The disclosure that Rep. Cummings and the Staff have been deliberately working to target True the Vote over a period of time, using taxpayer funds to conduet its unlawful activities, misrepresenting to the IRS that Rep. Cummings had opened an “investigation” of True the Vote and the other appalling actions taken by this group of individuals mandates a serious and full investigation and we reiterate our request that OCE undertake that investigation and fulfill its obligations.

We will provide whatever additional information OCE may require in order to get to the truth of what has transpired over these past several years, and to learn how and why True the Vote and Catherine Engelbrecht have been subjected to these violations of law and the United States Constitution…


Cleta Mitchell, Esq., Counsel True the Vote, Inc.

cc: Catherine Engelbrecht, President, True the Vote, Inc.

Enclosed: April 9, 2014 Letter from House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD)