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CNN "State of the Union with Candy Crowley" - Transcript - IRS Targeting


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CROWLEY: That, of course, is the Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee sharing his thoughts last week about the IRS scandal. I am joined now by the committee's top Democrat. He is Congressman Elijah Cummings of Maryland.

Congressman, I find myself in the same situation I was in last week with Congressman Issa and that is that you have provided me with excerpts from interviews that the committee has done and nobody will give me the whole transcript. What is the problem here with you giving me the whole transcript or Congressman Issa, because it does -- in the end it kind of becomes everybody's version of the truth.

CUMMINGS: Candy, I have asked Chairman Issa to release those transcripts to the public. I want every syllable of those transcripts to be released. He's the chairman. Now, I can tell you, I understand that he agreed to release them a week ago. And, I guess you still haven't gotten them based upon what you just said.

CROWLEY: I haven't, but don't you have them, too?

CUMMINGS: We have them, but again, let me be clear. I wrote Chairman Issa on Thursday and I wrote to him this morning, I want those transcripts to be released. But he's the chairman of the committee. We're not in power. Now, if he does not release them, I will. Period.


CUMMINGS: But again, I have to --

CROWLEY: Can we have a deadline?

CUMMINGS: I'm sorry.

CROWLEY: Can we have some date by which we could get them do you think?

CUMMINGS: Well, I will talk to the chairman again. I've written him and begged him to release the transcripts. I want them released. The only thing I would say is I do want redactions of names of some people who are employees (ph), but other than that, I think every syllable should be released. And, I can tell you, I'm willing to come on your show next week with the chairman with the transcripts if he agrees to do that. But if he doesn't, I'll release them by the end of the week.

CROWLEY: All right. We will check-in with both of you then. Let me now put up for our audience with the caveat that these are parts of an interview that you all had released to us. And this is a Cincinnati IRS manager of the screening group. So, in other words, the folks that were picking out Tea Party applications for tax exempt status. This is their boss in Cincinnati and some of the Q&A with Congressional investigators.

Question, "in your opinion, was it decision to screen and centralized the review of Tea Party cases the targeting of the president's political enemies?" Answer, "I do not believe that the screening of these cases had anything to do other than consistency and identifying issues that needed to have further development."

Question, "Do you have any reason to believe that anyone in the White House was involved in the decision to screen Tea Party cases?" Answer, "I have no reason to believe that." In some ways, this is reminiscent to me of some of the things that Chairman Issa gave me, which is there's really not a way that this manager could know whether there was White House involvement. So, this is their opinion.

But we still haven't kind of gotten to the -- the crux of the problem here, which is who wrote the BOLO, be on the look out for, that said look for Tea -- you know, names of Tea Party or Patriot? Who wrote that?

CUMMINGS: OK. Let's back up first, Candy. One of the things you did not say just now is that this man was the manager of the Cincinnati group that reviewed the exemption process.


CUMMINGS: Listen up now. He was a 21-year veteran of the IRS. And he was -- he described himself in the interviews in response to a Republican attorney's question as a conservative Republican. Very significant. He is a conservative Republican working for the IRS. I think this interview and these statements go a long way to what's showing that the White House was not involved in this. We knew that -- and this is the guy by the way, this conservative 21-year veteran of IRS is the same one who sent the initial case, the Tea Party case, up to the Washington technical office.


CUMMINGS: To have it reviewed. It had not been requested by the Washington technical office of IRS.


CUMMINGS: Very significant.

CROWLEY: Well, but even a conservative Republican in Cincinnati wouldn't actually know what the White House had on its brain or what - or even probably what the IRS and Washington had. That's my only point. But there's not a definitiveness to this in the sense that I'm trying to figure out if anybody in the interview so far has said I wrote the BOLO. That said pull out Tea Party applications? Who is that person?

CUMMINGS: Nobody. Again, it started -- this thing started with this guy -- it was started with a screener in his unit. The screener has -- it started with a Tea Party case, one Tea Party case in 2010 --

CROWLEY: Do you know what case that was by the way? It was just described as high profile. What does that mean?

CUMMINGS: High profile. That means it's a case that is unique. They believe that it would set precedent -- whatever decision they made would set precedent. And they wanted to make sure that it was handled in a way whereby whenever cases came behind it that were similar that they would be treated in a consistent way. This is very significant. And so the screener - a screener looked at this first case and then he takes it to his boss, the Republican conservative.


TCUMMINGS: And he says, boss, you know, this looks like a high profile case. Here's an organization that wants tax exempt status, but they want to be involved in political activity.


CUMMINGS: His boss, the conservative Republican, says look, you know what? I'm going to send this up to the Washington technical office because we want to get it right. In his interview, Candy, he said over and over again I want it to be consistent. So that's how all of this got started. Period.

CROWLEY: Right. But there still was somebody somewhere after that wrote a BOLO and said, you know, hey, let's pull out the Tea Party. That's what I was trying to get to. Final question I have to ask you, and that is as far as you are concerned based on the information that you now have, which in its totality is greater than ours, is this case over? Have you solved the case of the IRS and how this came to be?

CUMMINGS: Based upon everything I've seen the case is solved. And if it were me, I would wrap this case up and move on to be frank with you. In other words, I think we need to make -- the IRS by the way, the I.G. made some recommendations. Those recommendations are being adopted by the IRS. We've got a new commissioner in -- acting commissioner.


CUMMINGS: Danny Werfel's doing a great job. I think we're in great shape.

CROWLEY: Changes but you think the investigation is over you know enough. Thank you so much. Congressman Cummings, we appreciate it. Have a good Sunday.

CUMMINGS: Thank you.


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