In response to Rep Chaffetz Blasts White House For Trying To Pin the Blame on Rogue IRS Agents (Video):
In the video I posted of Rep Jason Chaffetz blasting the White House, he also had a testy exchange with ranking Democrat on the Oversight Committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings about his declaration on a Sunday talk show back in June that the IRS case was solved as far as he was concerned.
Chaffetz called Cummings out, saying, “when the ranking member went on national television saying the case was closed, that was wrong.”
Cummings interrupted to defend himself, and Chaffetz willingly yielded him some time, but when Cummings accused Chaffetz of using “talking points”, he took offense and reclaimed his time.
“To suggest that these are just talking points…these are not just talking points,” a miffed Chaffetz declared.
But the Congressman from Utah soon relented, and Cummings spoke.
“Let me be very clear..I hope the gentleman will join me when I say, I want every single syllable of every single transcript we can get…with appropriate redactions…I’ve been asking for that, and I want that.
What I said was, when it came to the issue of saying the president – the White House – was responsible for this, I said the evidence to that point, and continues to be….not there. As far as the investigation is concerned, I want us to get the bottom of it – and I really mean that.”
That does not quite square with the statement he gave Candy Crowley on June 9.
CUMMINGS: Based upon everything I’ve seen the case is solved. And if it were me, I would wrap this case up and move on to be frank with you. In other words, I think we need to make — the IRS by the way, the I.G. made some recommendations. Those recommendations are being adopted by the IRS. We’ve got a new commissioner in — acting commissioner.CROWLEY: Right.
CUMMINGS: Danny Werfel’s doing a great job. I think we’re in great shape.
Cummings backed away from his assertion that the case was solved, later that week in a short interview with The Politico, but still called the investigation a “witch hunt.”
Cummings said that he was trying to argue that — contrary to some GOP comments — the investigation has proven the Obama administration didn’t order the IRS to target conservative groups applying for a tax exemption.
“The witch hunt needs to end,” said Cummings, who is the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “What I meant was the witch hunt.”
Today, Chaffetz went on the record to say that he thought that the White House was involved.
Perhaps in an effort to explain Cummings’ behavior, Eliana Johnson reported in The Wall Street Journal, that Cummings has a connection to the IRS in his chief counsel on the committee, Susanne Sachsman Grooms, who worked for the IRS between 2008 and 2011. She was an adviser to the deputy commissioner for services and enforcement and later on a senior counselor to the chief of criminal investigations.
At the time, the deputy commissioner for services and enforcement–her boss–was none other than Steven Miller, who held the post of IRS commissioner from November 2012 until his resignation in May after the scandal broke.
Mr. Cummings also has a strong tie to the Obama administration: His staff director on the Oversight Committee, David Rapallo, is a former White House lawyer.