Partisan warfare is erupting over the investigation into how and why Tea Party groups were targeted by the IRS. Democrats are using the statement of a self-described "conservative Republican" as evidence that the inquiry needs to end.
That conservative Republican is Cincinnati IRS manager John Shafer. He spent six hours answering Capitol Hill investigators' questions on Thursday. He denies that the White House was behind the intense scrutiny of Tea Party groups' applications for tax exempt status.
"I do not believe the screening of these cases had anything to do other than consistency and identifying issues that needed to have further development," Shafer said, according to quotes provided to FOX19 by House Democrats.
Shafer says he was the one who asked Washington to get involved.
"So (the) Washington IRS technical office did not ask him for the case, he sent it," Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) told CBS's Face the Nation. "And keep in mind…this was a 21-year veteran (of the IRS) and he termed himself a conservative Republican."
Cummings said if he were chairman of the House Oversight Committee he would end the investigation into the issue. The Republican who is the chairman said he's not about to stop the inquiry and attacked Cummings' motives.
"His extreme and reckless assertions are a signal that his true motivation is stopping needed congressional oversight and he has no genuine interest in working, on a bipartisan basis, to expose the full truth," said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-California).
Democrats accuse Issa of not exposing the full truth. He has only released excerpts of transcripts to most media outlets. It was Cummings and House Democrats who released portions of Shafer's interview.
Meanwhile, the transcripts from another Cincinnati IRS worker's interview indicates he thought Washington was asking for the Tea Party cases. Gary Muthert told investigators that his supervisor in Cincinnati told him to look for Tea Party applications.
"He told me that Washington, D.C., wanted some cases," Muthert said of his supervisor.
Issa says it's statements like that which show the investigation needs to continue.
Copyright 2013 WXIX. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.