Top Dem on IRS Investigation Accused in Scandal
The top Democrat on the House panel investigating the Internal Revenue Service political scandal is being accused of possibly playing a role.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., has complained about Republicans investigating the IRS and former IRS official Lois Lerner for the targeting of conservative groups in the run up to the 2012 election.
Now six members of the House Oversight Committee are accusing Cummings of obstruction.
"From the very outset, you have worked to obstruct the investigation, even declaring on national television after only a few weeks of fact-finding that the 'case is solved,'" they wrote in a letter to Cummings. "New IRS documents identified by the Committee raise disturbing concerns about your possible motivations for opposing this investigation."
House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., has just released new IRS emails that show Cummings' staff and the IRS went after a conservative group that tries to prevent voter fraud.
The group is called True the Vote and it was one of dozens of groups singled out by Lois Lerner's IRS division.
Cummings started seeking information about True the Vote in August 2012. Issa said the IRS then asked True the Vote for "virtually identical information" as what Rep. Cummings was seeking.
"This timeline and pattern of inquiries raises concerns that the IRS improperly shared protected taxpayer information with your staff," Issa and five other committee members wrote in the letter to Cummings.
"Although you have previously denied that your staff made inquiries to the IRS about the conservative organization True the Vote that may have led to additional agency scrutiny, communication records between your staff and IRS officials - which you did not disclose to Majority Members or staff - indicates otherwise," the letter continues.
True the Vote said this new evidence proves they were being targeted for political reasons.
"Partisan politics and the weaponization of government against opponents of this administration is real and continues," True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht said.
"Elijah Cummings has blocked the IRS abuse investigation all along," she said. "We now see clearly that two branches of government have colluded to target and silence private citizens."
Cummings has defended his IRS inquiries of True the Vote.