The battle between House Oversight Committee Reps. Darrell Issa and Elijah Cummings continues.
After weeks of hearings on the so-called IRS scandal, the only things left unseen are the transcripts from private interviews Issa and a bipartisan group of committee members conducted with workers from the Cincinnati IRS. In an interview with CNN’s Candy Crowley earlier this month, Issa promised “the whole transcript will be put out,” but so far only excerpts have been released.
“If the chairman doesn’t want to release them like he promised–like he promised--what we will do, we’ll do the redactions…and then submit them to the public, to the media, so you all can make your own judgment,” Cummings said on Hardball Monday. “There’s nothing in those transcripts that I’m afraid of.”
Issa quickly responded to Cummings’ threat by attacking the man himself. “Your decision to make that declaration in a very public way was irresponsible and emblematic of your general aversion to conducting meaningful oversight of the administration,” Issa said in a letter.
Issa said that releasing the transcripts would be “reckless,” that it could result in future witnesses using it “to devise testimony consistent with the narrative that previous witnesses presented to committee investigations.”
But now, as msnbc’s Lawrence O’Donnell said in the Rewrite Thursday, “Elijah Cummings has Darrell Issa cornered.” Cummings called Issa’s bluff again with a new proposal:
“I am attaching for your review a copy of the transcript of the Committee’s interview of the IRS Screening Group Manager in Cincinnati. In this copy, the names of individuals have been redacted to protect their privacy. In order to provide the public with the most comprehensive information possible without jeopardizing the Committee’s investigation, I request that you review this version of the transcript and identify any specific text you believe should be withheld from the American people, as well as thespecific reason you believe that text should continue to be concealed from public view. I request that you provide any additional proposed redactions on Monday, June 17, 2013.”
“You don’t often see things this beautiful on congressional stationary,” commented O’Donnell.
Here is the full letter Congressman Cummings sent to Darrell Issa.
Updated July 8, 2013 at 9:27pm ET