Following this week’s hearings regarding the alleged targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups by the Internal Revenue Service, GOP lawmakers are accusing a fellow member of Congress and the nation’s top law enforcement officer of conspiring to help cover up the illegal and politically-motivated activities of the IRS’ Office of Exempt Organizations, according to a number of news reports on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., criticized Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., for having his office communicate with the controversial IRS director Lois Lerner in 2012 in order to pressure her and her minions to target a conservative watchdog group that investigates cases of illegal voting.
Issa, who chairs the committee, told reporters that documents he received from the IRS revealed that Cummings and the IRS allegedly conspired to harass the nonpartisan True the Vote, a group that advocates fair and honest elections and reports on alleged illegal election practices by both Democrats and Republicans.
“The IRS and the Oversight Minority made numerous requests for virtually identical information from True the Vote, raising concerns that the IRS improperly shared protected taxpayer information with Rep. Cummings’ staff,” Issa stated on the Oversight Committee’s website.
Issa accuses Cummings and his House staffers of seeking materials used by the group, a list of the group’s affiliates and information on contributors and supporters of True the Vote.
According to Issa, after Cummings and his staff pressured the IRS to go after True the Vote, the conservative group received an email message to submit information to IRS agents such as registration forms used to enlist volunteers, the group’s protocols for handing out assignments to those volunteers, training documents, and other information that is never asked from left-wing groups.
“Now we see why [Rep. Elijah] Cummings was so shrill and angry during Lois Lerner’s appearance in front of his committee. Cummings should be the one being investigated based on his politicizing the IRS in a conspiracy to silence a vocal organization,” said political strategist Mike Baker.
Meanwhile, U.S. Congressman Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, surprised many of his colleagues and President Barack Obama’s allies in the news media by bluntly lambasting Attorney General Eric Holder during his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee.
Congressman Farenthold said that during his appropriated time he would not question Holder during the hearing because he felt that, since the Holder was held in contempt of Congress, it is inappropriate for the alleged perjurer to appear before a Congressional committee as if there were no problem with his past behavior.
According to his statement, Rep. Farenthold told his fellow committee members: “I don’t think Mr. Holder should be here. He’s in contempt of this body. I’ve called for his resignation, I’ve sponsored articles of impeachment and, this week, I’m going to be introducing legislation that would prevent federal employees who are held in contempt of Congress or who fail to fully comply with a Congressional subpoena from being paid their taxpayer-funded salary.”
The Texas Republican added: “If an American citizen had not complied with one of the Justice Department subpoenas, they would be in jail – not sitting here testifying.”
“When you look at the documents and listen to the testimony of Holder, Cummings and Lerner, one cannot help but suspect there is a large-scale, criminal conspiracy afoot, and it needs to be thoroughly investigated perhaps by a special prosecutor,” said former police detective and private security director Michael Snipes.