Lawmakers debate release of IRS employee interview transcripts - Tucson News Now

Lawmakers debate release of IRS transcripts

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(FOX19) -

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is not releasing the full transcripts of IRS employee interviews.

While the Wall Street Journal was allowed to see redacted transcripts, some lawmakers are calling them "cherry picked" and "partisan" and warn they do not tell the whole story.

In the transcripts, the Wall Street Journal reports the interviews reference a D.C. lawyer Carter Hull who allegedly "closely oversaw" work being done in Cincinnati and even "suggested some of the questions asked [of] applicants."

While the transcripts make a D.C. connection, the Oversight Committee's democratic ranking member Elijah Cummings released this statement:

"Chairman Issa appears to be engaged in a desperate effort to tie IRS actions to the White House by leaking cherry-picked transcript excerpts, and his own party leaders are now distancing themselves from his extreme, reckless, and partisan approach."  

Cumming's office is not releasing any portion of the transcripts telling FOX19 they are "… still in the process of doing transcribed interviews and gathering information to get a fuller picture of exactly what happened."

Based on a letter obtained by FOX19 dated May 15th, five IRS workers have been subpoenaed to interview.

Lawmakers will not say who has been interviewed since then and who is left to be questioned, but based on the transcripts obtained by the Wall Street Journal Elizabeth Hofacre and Gary Muthert have been interviewed and a committee hearing Thursday crossed off another name.

"Right now the committee staff is interviewing an employee of the IRS Mr. John Shafer," Representative Jim Jordan said.

Jordan went on to question why the IRS allegedly denied Shafer from providing documents during that interview.

"Here's an employee of yours being interviewed by the committee who wants to present documents to get to the truth and hold people accountable exactly the way we described in your statement and we want to know why you won't give us the documents," Jordan said addressing Acting IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel.

"It's not a question of wont give you the documents it's a question of not having enough time," Werfel responded.

The transcripts that were released to the Wall Street Journal contained redactions, names that were marked out including at least one local manger in Cincinnati.

FOX19 reached out multiple times by phone and email Thursday to Chairman Issa's committee office, but got no response to the latest request for transcripts. 

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