Roland Martin was joined by Rep. Elijah Cummings on the Tom Joyner Morning Show to discuss releasing a full transcript of a congressional interview that he says proved there was “no White House involvement” in the IRS targeting of conservative groups.
ROLAND MARTIN : …We’ve been following this IRS issue in terms of this so called scandal and republicans have been saying the White House was behind this. Darrell Issa, of course who is the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, he came out Tom, and he said that the people who testified said the IRS was behind it. But I’m not going to release the full transcript because, you know, that will undermine our investigation, so our guest today, Congressman Elijah Cummings who is the ranking democrat on the committee, he decided to release the transcripts. And guess what they showed, Congress Cummings?
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS: It showed – first of all, good morning – in the transcript that we released shows that there was, first of all, the person who started the so called targeting was a self-proclaimed conservative republican who works in the Cincinnati office of the IRS. And he said he started looking at these various files because he felt that they needed extra scrutiny. In other words these people were asking for tax exempt status so they wouldn’t have to pay any taxes on income, but yet it’s still – and the only way they would get that is if they were an organization that gave most of its efforts to social welfare activities. And when they found out, what they discovered, so they wanted to treat these organizations all the same as they came in.
Don’t forget this right after Citizens United, the Citizens United case went to the case and said you can give unlimited, corporations can give unlimited funds to candidates without disclosing it. So he started this. And he said, the White House had nothing to do this with. Again, a conservative republican said there was no political motivation. He said he was simply doing his job and he said he sent a case up to the Washington IRS office for scrutiny, and he said that was the usual procedure, he was just doing his job. And he was basically leaving his party hat at the door and when he walked into the IRS he did his job, took the law, tried to apply it, and the next thing you know we’ve got Chairman Issa releasing drip drab, drip, drip, drip transcript excerpts from various people trying to show basically that the President and the Vice President was involved in the White House.
And come to find out he knew all the time that he had in his hand a transcript of a man who started this and who said that there was absolutely no political involvement, no White House involvement what so ever.
ROLAND MARTIN : So Congressman, Issa is now mad at you because you actually released the full transcript so we can, so how can talk about transparency from the White House when he won’t even release the information so we can get the whole story?
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS: The interesting thing is that he, we’ve done about ten different interviews. He had, over the weekend, he had folks come in, reporters come in, and review entire transcripts. Entire transcripts from various people that had testified, because he was trying to prove his point. But you know the one that he did not reveal? The one of the mad conservative republican who started it, which is the most important transcript. He never allowed them to see not even one syllable of it. As a matter of fact in all his accusations saying the President was involved in this and he had an enemy list. He has never mentioned the testimony of this person, this very important person, who started all of this, a conservative republican at that.
TOM JOYNER: Congressman Elijah Cummings, how far will the republicans go to embarrass our President?
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS: I tell you I think there is no end to it. My role in the Congress is basically to make sure the government works right. And really to treat, to make sure this administration is treated fairly. And I can tell you, Tom, he is under attack. People only hear about one tenth of the attacks that he’s under from the republicans.
SYBIL WILKES : Wow.
TOM JOYNER: One tenth?
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS: You all only hear about one tenth of them.
TOM JOYNER: Wow.
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS: I mean it is a barrage there subpoenaing documents every day, it is just a phenomenal fishing expedition.
SYBIL WILKES : How deep does this go, Congressman, if this is what we’re getting from you and your hard work? How deep does this go in terms of the attacks on the administration?
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS: Well, let me tell you how it works. You got a lot of people who work for the federal government, we got great people working for the federal government. But there are some who if they see an email come across their desk and they think it might be something that might be suspicious then what they do is they send it in to Darrell Issa. He then looks at it and says, okay, let’s launch an investigation on it. It may be something very innocent. And there’s been a lot of that, by the way. And the next thing you know this guy subpoenaing the lawyers, subpoenaing all kinds of documents tying up these employees, and 99 times out of 100 there’s nothing there. But the process, you see it, these people have to go out and get lawyers. The disruptions of folks who ought to be doing the federal government’s work, but he understood they were going through thousands and thousands of emails to send them in to Issa. That is not right. And we see it over and over again. So it runs very deep. Very.
ROLAND MARTIN : So you think a clear abuse of power by your fellow congressman?
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS: No doubt about it. That’s why I released the transcript.
ROLAND MARTIN : All right, then.
TOM JOYNER: Get ‘em, get ‘em Elijah Cummings. Get ‘em!
SYBIL WILKES : Stay on the case.
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS: Thank you very much.