House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) on Tuesday said it would be “reckless” to release full transcripts of interviews with IRS staffers, after the panel’s top Democrat threatened to do so this week.
Issa, in a letter to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), defended his decision to only released limited portions of testimony, saying that it could help lure other potential witnesses and protect those who have come forward to talk about the agency’s targeting of conservative groups.
The chairman accused Cummings of trying to undermine the committee’s investigation by calling for a full transcript release while a bipartisan probe was ongoing. Cummings has said he’ll release the full transcripts by the end of the week if Issa refuses to do so.
“In fact, raising public awareness by releasing limited portions of transcripts decreases the likelihood that retaliations will occur — when agency management know the press and Congress are watching, witnesses tend to be less likely to be demoted or fired,” Issa said.
The California Republican also said he feared a full account would tip off involved parties to investigators’ moves.