The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

June 18, 2013

IRS official contradicts claims about reviews

(Continued)

Republican and Democratic staffers are working together on the investigation. Nevertheless, it is starting to take on a partisan tone.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., accused the Republican chairman of the House oversight committee of selectively leaking transcripts of the interviews. Cummings is the ranking Democrat on the committee and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., is the chairman.

"Another week, another leak from chairman Issa of cherry-picked excerpts that show no White House involvement whatsoever in the identification and screening of these cases," Cumming said. "By leaking transcript portions that omit key details from the accounts witnesses provided to the committee, chairman Issa has now drawn condemnation even from House Republicans working with him on this very investigation."

Last week, Cummings released excerpts from an interview with an IRS manager in Cincinnati who said that he set the review of tea party applications in motion. Cummings said the manager, who was not identified, confirmed that the White House was not involved.

Cummings has called for all of the transcripts to be released but Issa said that would be reckless while the investigation is ongoing. Issa said limited releases of testimony may empower other witnesses to come forward.

A yearlong audit by the agency's inspector general found that IRS agents had improperly targeted conservative political groups for additional and sometimes onerous scrutiny when those groups applied for tax-exempt status.

The IRS watchdog blamed ineffective management by senior IRS officials for allowing it to continue for nearly two years during the 2010 and 2012 elections.

Since the revelations became public last month, much of the agency's leadership has been replaced and the Justice Department has started a criminal investigation. Both Paz and her supervisor, Lois Lerner, who headed the division that handles applications for tax-exempt status, have been replaced.

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