On Monday night’s episode of The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, former Governor of Vermont and Democratic National Committee Chairman, Howard Dean, called Darrell Issa out as a “fraud” and “propagandist” for his role in the recent supposed IRS scandal. Issa has been accused of cherry-picking from interview transcripts of IRS employees to make it look like the IRS was targeting Tea Party groups intentionally as part of some grand political conspiracy. IRS insiders have contested that allegation, explaining that certain terms were used only to help weed through the massive number of applications more quickly and efficiently, not to target groups with certain political affiliations. Dean said of Issa’s most recent witch-hunt,
Darrell Issa is basically a fraud. I mean, Darrell Issa is a propagandist who, instead of doing his job for the United States government the way he’s paid to do, thinks this is all about politics.
Host Lawrence O’Donnell then observed,
This is so Washington–this whole thing–where you know, we start the big investigation and they’re just not willing to recognize that what they’re finding doesn’t line up with their initial accusations. It was a perfectly legitimate investigation to launch if they’d launched it with an open mind. And they could have come across this information and not had to suppress it the way Issa seems to be doing. But now Issa’s not interested in getting out the information that his own staff went out there and found.
Howard Dean responded,
Well, it’s interesting, Darrell Issa has a history of this kind of stuff. He was a force behind the recall election of Gray Davis when Gray Davis was recalled from the governorship. Darrell Issa desperately wanted to run for governor and he was pushed aside by the Republican Party precisely because of this kind of stuff. What Darrell Issa is doing is serving Darrell Issa amd the Republican Party. It’s not serving the people of the United States. This is a consistent theme throughout the right wing. They always give you part of the evidence and tell a story. They think the story is more important than the evidence. Fortunately, the American people have gotten pretty smart about this, which is why the so-called IRS scandal is not going anywhere. Because they strongly suspect that the Republicans are going to do this again and again and again, and it gives them less and less credibility.
If Issa refuses, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) has promised to release unedited versions of the transcripts by the end of the week, which contain interviews with IRS employees that reportedly absolve the Obama Administration of any wrongdoing in the alleged IRS targeting fiasco.