Washington: A self-described Conservative Republican who is a Manager in the Federal Tax Collection Agency office that targeted conservative groups told investigators that he, not the White House, set in motion the review, the top Democrat on the House watchdog committee said on Sunday.
Rep Elijah Cummings released a partial transcript of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform interview with the unnamed Manager in the Internal Revenue Service`s Cincinnati office. In it, the employee said the extra scrutiny for Conservative Tea Party Groups applying for tax-exempt status was an effort to be consistent in reviewing applications and not driven by politics.
"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," Cummings said.
"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," Cummings added.
In the five-hour interview conducted last week, the Manager said one of his employees brought to him a tea party group`s application for tax-exempt status. The Manager said he recognised the political implications of the decision and flagged it for an office in Washington. Some Republicans have suggested that the Washington office initiated the close examination.
Republicans have complained the IRS targeted tea party groups because they are critical of Democrats and President Barack Obama. An internal IRS report found the agency gave the groups which advocate small government improper scrutiny.
The uproar forced out the acting IRS Chief and put the White House on the defensive against those who suggested Obama was using the government to go after his political enemies. Sunday`s release of yet another partial transcript was unlikely to quiet those critics.
"The American public wants to know why targeting occurred and who was involved," said Oversight Committee Chairman Rep Darrell Issa, in a statement released on Sunday.
"The testimony excerpts Ranking Member Cummings revealed on Sunday did not provide anything enlightening or contradict other witness accounts. The only thing Ranking Member Cummings left clear in his comments on Sunday is that if it were up to him the investigation would be closed."