Like a rat who could not wait to flee his own sinking ship, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) turned off the microphone of ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings, and fled the room after Lois Lerner took the Fifth at Issa’s latest IRS witch hunt hearing.
House Oversight Committee ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings described Issa’s behavior in a statement:
During a hearing today before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa posed questions for approximately 15 minutes to former IRS official Lois Lerner, who stated as she had nine months ago that she was invoking her Fifth Amendment right not to testify.
When it came time for the Committee’s Ranking Member, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, to take his turn for questions under Committee and House Rules, Issa quickly adjourned the hearing, turned off Cummings’ microphone, and refused to allow him to make any statement or ask any questions.
Cummings immediately protested, stating: “You cannot have a one-sided investigation. There is absolutely something wrong with that. And it’s absolutely un-American.” Issa then returned, turned on Cummings’ microphone, and allowed him to begin his statement.
However, when it became clear that Issa did not like what Cummings was saying, Issa again turned off Cummings’ microphone and repeatedly signaled to Republican staff with his hand across his neck.
Cummings proceeded to read his statement and questions in the hearing room as all of the Committee’s Republicans fled the hearing room.
Rep. Cummings’ statement accurately described what is visible in the video above. Some media outlets have reported this as an argument between Issa and Cummings. There was no argument. Cummings tried to speak. Issa cut off his mic. Issa turned the Democrats mic back on, adjourned the hearing, and quickly ran out of the room.
Like a cockroach running from the light, Issa couldn’t wait to escape the hearing room after it became clear that he lied to the world on Fox News Sunday. Lois Lerner never had any intention of testifying today. That didn’t stop Issa from inventing some breaking news that he passed on to Fox News that Lerner would be testifying.
Issa should have been humiliated, but he was outraged that Lerner would not play a part in his attempt to revive the widely debunked IRS scandal. Fox News is expressing shock that Lerner didn’t testify, but they have known since Sunday that she wasn’t going to play a role in Issa’s latest show trial abuse of power.
Rep. Cummings was correct. That was no way to run a hearing; however it did lay bare the partisan witch hunt that Darrell Issa is carrying out against President Obama. What we saw today was not democracy. It was a pathetic attempt to grandstand in order to revive a scandal that doesn’t exist.
The only person in that room who deserves to be investigated it is Rep. Darrell Issa.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association