There’s a pretty good wrestling match going on between the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and its ranking Democratic member. Chairman Darrell Issa and ranking member Elijah Cummings are going at it pretty heavily over testimony given by two employees from the IRS’ Cincinnati office to House investigators. However the actual content of those interviews seems to vary widely depending upon which lawmaker you ask or which transcripts were released to the public.

The back-and-forth between Issa and Cummings came to a head this past Sunday when Mr. Cummings promised to release the full transcripts from the interviews by the end of this week, which would be today.

Mr. Cummings said Mr. Issa, as the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman, should be the one to release the transcripts, but he will do so if Issa refuses.

Issa’s committee had chosen not to release the full transcripts, citing the sensitivity of the ongoing investigation. That didn’t stop Cummings who released his own set of excerpts appearing to support his case that neither the White House nor the IRS headquarters in Washington were behind the targeting of conservative groups seeking tax- exempt status.

Cummings sent a letter Sunday to Issa, saying information from one of the IRS managers, a 21-year veteran of the agency and self-described conservative Republican, rejected any suggestion that political considerations played a role in his actions or those of his screeners.

“The case is solved,” said Cummings on CNN’s “State of the Union” that lawmakers should “wrap this up and move on.”

Cummings went on to condemn Issa for his behavior over the IRS controversy and other investigations by the committee, including Operation Fast and Furious and Benghazi, saying the committee’s integrity must be maintained and that Mr. Issa can’t continue to “make wild accusations.”

“Your actions over the past three years do not reflect a responsible, bipartisan approach to investigations, and the committee’s credibility has been damaged as a result,” Mr. Cummings wrote.

Mr. Issa, Cummings said, “has a tendency to make strong allegations and then go chasing the facts and usually never finding them.”

Cummings tone took the war of words to an entirely new level, all but calling Issa a liar, saying he would never use that word, which was a clear reference to Issa calling White House spokesman Jay Carney a “paid liar” the previous weekend.

Cummings criticisms of Issa continued through the Sunday morning talk shows as he added “Those kinds of words are inappropriate on Capitol Hill,” on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

Issa, not one to back down from a good fight, quickly responded by saying the “extreme and reckless assertions are a signal that his true motivation is stopping needed congressional oversight.”

“He has no genuine interest in working, on a bipartisan basis, to expose the full truth,” Mr. Issa continued. “Fortunately, the decision to close the investigation is not his to make.”

Issa remains steadfast in his belief that the IRS actions most likely were coordinated out of Washington headquarters and that the committee is “getting to proving it.”

“My gut tells me that too many people knew this wrongdoing was going on before the election, and at least by some sort of convenient, benign neglect, allowed it to go on through the election,” he said last week. “I’m not making any allegations as to motive, that they set out to do it, but certainly people knew it was happening.”

It’s clear that there were some folks in Washington that knew what was going on. The question will remain, as it always does, how long will the cover-up hold.


Listen to Mr. Kaplan on NTN Radio Fridays at 8pm EDT
Subscribe to Mr. Kaplan’s articles at
Read Mr. Kaplan’s blog at Conservatively Speaking
Email Mr. Kaplan at
Follow Mr. Kaplan’s tweets at ConsSpeaking