Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, struck back after Republican Chairman Darrell Issa dismissed his argument that holding Lois Lerner in contempt would be illegal, claiming the chairman’s response was “extremely thin on the law” and crafted solely to create headlines.
On Wednesday, Cummings sent a letter to Issa accusing him of violating procedure in last week’s hearing with disgraced IRS official Lois Lerner — making it illegal to hold her in contempt of Congress. On Friday, Issa responded, calling the letter “wrong on the facts and the law.” (RELATED: Issa to Cummings: You’re wrong. We can hold Lois Lerner in contempt)
Cummings called into MSNBC’s “Reid Report” Friday afternoon to address Issa’s new letter. “Let me be clear,” he told host Joy Reid. “I got the response that Chairman Issa sent and it is very thin — extremely thin — on the law.”
“You’ve got to do two things, and the case law is clear,” he contended. “No. 1, Chairman Issa had to demand an answer, and when Lois Lerner asserted her right under the Fifth Amendment, he had to overrule her objection. And then he had to do the second thing: He had to demand that she answer the question.”
“Chairman Issa was so busy trying to adjourn the meeting that he did not follow the law,” Cummings alleged. “This is not even close!”
“I think what he wants to do is drag this thing out so that it drags out into the election,” the ranking member continued. “Keep in mind, Joy, the chairman, if he was really trying to get information, he could’ve gotten it!”
He alleged that Issa deliberately rejected offers from Lerner’s lawyer to testify. “By this time now we would’ve had the testimony,” he said. “So I can only assume he’s trying to drag this situation out.”
Cummings also angrily dismissed Issa’s encouragement to “subordinate your political loyalties to the institutional interests of the House.”
“There is Issa going again,” he said, “putting out, trying to create some kind of headlines or whatever, and is not substantiated with facts. I’m the one who has been constantly pushing for us to find the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”
“This is not about defending Lois Lerner,” he declared. “This is about making sure that we uphold the Constitution of the United States of America. That’s what it’s all about!”
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact email@example.com.