Darrell Issa Wins Yet Another Chutzpah Award

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Rep. Darrell Issa says he is “deeply disappointed” that Rep. Elijah Cummings went ahead and released the full transcript of a House Oversight Committee interview with an IRS screening manager that Issa wanted to keep under wraps. Then this:

His own previous release of excerpts from this very same transcript undermines his claims that the Committee is somehow trying to keep some specific revelation from public view.

I’m not even sure what to call this. Chutzpah? Something else? Basically, Issa released a few highly misleading excerpts from the interview and repeatedly refused to release the whole thing. So Cummings released some excerpts on his own, and somehow this is supposed to be evidence that Issa wasn’t trying to hide anything? Say what? I’ll bet Nixon was sorry he didn’t think of that defense.

While we’re on the subject, though, I pulled a muscle last night reading the full transcript of this interview. (Seriously. It still hurts.) And for what it’s worth, it really doesn’t prove that there was no White House involvement in targeting tea party groups. The interviewee was a low-level manager of a screening group that does initial sorting into “buckets” of 75,000 applications per year. He made it clear that applications get only a cursory review in his group; that tea party applications were grouped together mostly for the sake of consistency; and that after three days his folks never see these applications again. He did state that he had no reason to think the White House was involved in the higher-level review of tea-party applications, but it was clear that he really had no way of knowing. It was way above his pay grade.

None of this is to say the White House was involved. There’s never been any evidence of that, and based on what we know it’s vanishingly unlikely. Republicans are just blowing smoke on this. Nonetheless, this particular transcript doesn’t really tell us anything aside from the fact that a low-ranking manager was unaware of any political influence. But he probably wouldn’t be even if there was.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate