Politics
              Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, holds up a sheet detailing IRS conference spending as he makes opening remarks on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Thursday, June 6, 2013, during the committee

Chief counsel in lawsuit against IRS: top Democrat Cummings’ claim is ‘ridiculous’

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Patrick Howley
Political Reporter

The chief counsel in the nationwide class-action lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service said that Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings’ claim that a lone “conservative Republican” was responsible for the agency’s improper targeting of conservatives is “ridiculous.”

Jay Sekulow, who represents more than twenty conservative groups that were targeted by the IRS in a class-action lawsuit brought by the American Center for Law and Justice, scoffed at Cummings’ claim that the investigation of the agency’s targeting of President Obama’s political opponents should be wrapped up.

“Committee staff conducted a key interview last week with the IRS manager who supervised the team of screeners that evaluates applications for tax exempt status in Cincinnati, and this official stated that he is a ‘conservative Republican’ with 21 years of experience at the IRS,” Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, claimed in a divisive letter to Republican Oversight chairman Darrell Issa earlier this week.

“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 then said on CNN.

But Cummings’ claim is absurd in the face of clear evidence that the IRS targeting was planned out of Washington, said Sekulow.

“That’s ridiculous. [Cummings' claim] is nonsense. We know that Lois Lerner was sending letters to tea party groups from Washington. We know that at least four different offices were involved, according to our documentation. Other IRS employees are saying that Washington was involved,” Sekulow told The Daily Caller.

Washington-based IRS lawyer and registered Democrat Carter C. Hull personally oversaw the agency’s targeting in Cincinnati, according to interviews that two Cincinnati-based IRS employees gave to congressional investigators.

“I was essentially a front person, because I had no autonomy or no authority to act on [applications] without Carter Hull’s influence or input,” Elizabeth Hofacre, an employee of the Cincinnati IRS office, said in an interview with congressional investigators. Another Cincinnati IRS employee said that Washington was “basically throwing us underneath the bus.”

Spokespeople for Rep. Cummings have failed to return repeated Daily Caller requests for the name of the “conservative Republican” in Cincinnati that Cummings claimed was responsible for planning the improper targeting. The title given for the unnamed gentleman does not appear in any published organizational chart of the Cincinnati IRS office.

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