Republican House Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa seems pretty sure he’s caught Obama administration in some kind of lie about the IRS scandal. During a Sunday appearance on CNN’s State of the Union, Issa said closed door testimony from employees of the Cincinnati IRS office charged with over-scrutinizing conservative groups’ tax-exemption applications shows that the targeting “was coordinated in all likelihood right out of Washington headquarters — and we’re getting to proving it.” He even provided host Candy Crowley with partial transcripts of interviews with two Cincinnati workers. In one conversation, which Crowley read on air, an employee countered the IRS and White House’s insistence that the behavior originated locally. “As an agent we are controlled by many, many people. We have to submit many, many reports. So the chance of two agents being rogue and doing things like that could never happen.” When asked if directions to single out Tea Party applications came from Washington, the employee replied, “I believe so.”
Crowley did not seem particularly impressed. “It’s totally not definitive,” she said while pointing out that he’d only given her short excerpts of the talks. “That one isn’t,” Issa admitted, though he said his Committee would release the full transcripts eventually. For now, Issa stopped short of saying that he had hard evidence linking anyone in Washington to the scandal, though he vowed to “learn the whole truth” and claimed to “have subpoenaed documents that would support that that they say emails went back and forth [between Cincinnati and IRS headquarters in D.C.]”
Of course, even if that is the case, it wouldn’t necessarily transform the IRS’s actions into the big Obama scandal conservatives are looking for — but Issa is trying his hardest to lay the groundwork. He called White House Press secretary Jay Carney a “paid liar” who is “still making up things about what happened and calling this a local rogue … The president’s spokesman – spokesperson – is saying whatever’s convenient at the time. The story changes.” Or so Issa hopes.