President of True the Vote responds to Cummings allegations
Revelations last week that the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings, was in contact with the IRS in order to target the Texas-based conservatie group True the Vote is just "the tip of a very ugly iceberg" according to the group's president Catherine Engelbrecht,
Engelbrecht filed a complaint against Cummings in February, charging that he prompted the investigation against True the Vote. Cummings said at the time that those allegations were unequivocally false, but attorney Cleta Mitchell says these new emails back up Engelbrecht's claim.
"Now we find out from these emails released that in fact our request for an investigation really is well placed because [Cummings] was, and his staff, they were having communications with the IRS about True the Vote," said Mitchell, who is representing True the Vote.
Mitchell said the similarities between questions asked of True the Vote by Cummings staffers and IRS officials at separate junctures strongly suggested inappropriate coordination between Cummings and the IRS. Engelbrecht said holding Cummings accountable is important, but the issue goes far beyond him.
"To whatever extent there can be disciplinary action taken, we need to be very serious about taking them, but make no mistake, Elijah Cummings, though very important at this juncture of this discovery in this investigation, is just one of what I believe will be quite an extensive cast of characters that will point to a much vigor, much more orchestrated effort to target and silence private citizens," Engelbrecht said. "He's just one of many."
Mitchell told the "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV, that she was not surprised by the emails about Cummings.
The revelation come two months after Mitchell filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics, seeking a probe of Cummings and his staff to see what role, if any, they played in the targeting of True the Vote and Engelbrecht.
"[Cummings] was very outraged and said that was incorrect, it was not true, and we said, well, we just want an investigation to find out … [He] has been trying to do everything he can to thwart the investigation," Mitchell said.
"Well, guess what? It turns out that when finally … the committee obtains more of [IRS official] Lois Lerner's emails, we find out that, in fact, she was communicating within the IRS about a special request from Cummings' staff saying they had opened their own investigation into True to Vote ...
"He said there was no involvement by him and his staff and that turns out to be a lie."
How many other Democratic congressmen and senators had direct contact with the IRS, asking them to investiage and target conservative groups appllying for tax exempt status? We know that Senator Dick Durbin and some Democratic outside groups sent letters to the agency urging investigations and audits of conservative groups. How many more Democrats are involved in putting pressure on the IRS to clamp down on conservatives? An investigation would be helpful.
Meanwhile, it seems that True the Vote has been vindicated in its charges. What action, if any, will be taken against Rep. Cummings remains to be seen.