New York Rep. Joe Crowley went on the attack during Thursday’s House Ways and Means Committee hearing, alleging that House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa had the Inspector General responsible for writing the report on the Internal Revenue Service’s improper targeting of conservative organizations bias it in favor of the California Republican’s “personal ideology.”
The comments came after news broke this week that some progressive organizations had also been improperly targeted by the government’s tax-collecting agency, and was hearing testimony from Daniel Werfel, the principal deputy commissioner and deputy commissioner for services and enforcement at the IRS, when Crowley made his accusations.
“We know for a fact that there has been targeting of both Tea Party and progressive groups by the IRS, but this is not divulged by the Treasury IG in his audit of the IRS,” Crowley, a Democrat, said. “The IG didn’t even give us a hint that progressive groups were targeted until committee Democrats dug further and deeper into this investigation. My fear is that the IG – an appointee of George W. Bush and a former committee staffer of the Oversight Committee chaired by Darrell Issa drafted a report that suited Chairman Issa’s personal ideology, and not the fact of the case.”
He then insinuated that Issa lied about knowing whether the IRS was improperly targeting groups last summer, arguing that Issa would have used that information to his political benefit if he did.
“Does anyone think for a moment that if there was a White House targeting of conservative groups before the 2012 elections that Chairman Issa wouldn’t have said anything about that…that he would have sat back and said nothing about that?”
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) wasn’t spared by Crowley either, as he was accused of helping to spread a “culture of intimidation” within Washington – one in which allegedly makes progressive organizations afraid to come forth and testify before Congress.
“We also demand that the Republican ‘Culture of Intimidation’ stop so progressive groups will feel comfortable testifying before us here,” Crowley said. “But right now they are not comfortable coming before this committee – and the chairman’s continued silence or excusing of the abuse of progressive groups makes it hard for these groups to come before us.”
In fact, things became so heated that Camp – while cutting Crowley’s tirade off at the five-minute mark – had to politely remind him who’s in charge of things in the committee.
“You’ve had your five minutes, you referred to me by name as the Chairman and I’m gonna respond,” the Chairman said.
Watch Crowley’s full rant below.