Rep. Cummings is a national treasure. Rep. “We’re in charge, close it down” Issa, not so much. Per the New Republic:
In a meeting of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform today, Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings snapped at Chairman Darrell Issa, calling his investigation “un-American.” Issa has long been the Republican attack dog in the House and has been leading the charge against the IRS scandal. On Wednesday, former IRS employee Lois Lerner invoked the Fifth Amendment in response to Issa’s questions.
After ten minutes of questioning Lerner and not receiving any answers, Issa abruptly ended the hearing, prompting Cummings to tell Issa, “You cannot run a hearing like this. You just cannot do this. We are better than that as a country. We are better than that as a committee.” Issa stood up and told everyone in the room that the hearing was adjourned…
It’s worth listening to the entire seven-minute MSNBC clip at the link (sorry, I’ve not been able to embed) because Rep. Cummings’ statement really deserves to be heard. David Ferguson, at Raw Story, has the shorter:
… Cummings went on to say that over the course of the last year, the investigation has squandered more than $14 million and “we have found no evidence to support allegations of a political conspiracy against conservative groups.”
The committee has found, he said, “evidence of gross mismanagement” within the bureau, but nothing to support conservative groups’ allegations that they were specifically targeted for punitive taxation and auditing…
Dana Milbank, at the Washington Post, “Darrell Issa… hits a new low”:
… Issa told Wallace on Sunday that Lerner’s “attorney indicates now that she will testify” after refusing to do so at a hearing last year. The lawyer denied this, and Lerner did not testify Wednesday — and that would have been the news, if not for Issa’s sound-system antics. Because it was technically a continuation of last year’s appearance by Lerner, Issa didn’t allow opening statements, and he didn’t let his Democratic counterpart speak after Lerner had declined to testify.
“Now you’re turning me off?” Cummings said, incredulously, as Issa pressed the silencing button.
Issa must have realized it didn’t look good for him to be standing and holding the mute button while the ranking Democrat spoke. He briefly sat and allowed Cummings to speak, but then stood and silenced the microphone again.
“I am a member of the Congress of the United States of America! I am tired of this!” Cummings shouted. “You cannot just have a one-sided investigation. . . . It is absolutely un-American.”
Issa gave Cummings a look of loathing and said, quietly, “We had a hearing. It is adjourned. I gave you an opportunity to ask a question. You have no question.”
While Cummings continued to read his unamplified statement, Issa walked out and was asked by reporters in the hallway why he shut the sound. “He was actually slandering me at the moment that the mics did go off by claiming that this had not been a real investigation,” Issa said. “This has been a bipartisan investigation.”
Bipartisan: one party to protest, and the other party to unplug the microphones.