September 10, 2014 by Hannah Bleau
Rep. Darrell Issa is calling the Justice Department out after a senior official mistakenly called his office, asking Issa’s staffers leak documents regarding the ongoing IRS investigation.
The documents involved information regarding former IRS employee, Andrew Strelka. The senior Justice official, who mistakenly contacted Issa’s staff instead of another office, asked staffers to leak the information to the press so the Justice Department could comment on the information before Republicans publicly released it.
By leaking the documents, they could seriously ruin the investigation and give the Obama Administration an upper hand, The Blaze reports.
Issa’s staffers played along, requesting the documents to be sent over. The senior Justice official then put them on hold but realized his unfortunate mix-up and called off the entire leak.
In response, Rep. Issa wrote a concerning letter to Attorney General Eric Holder.
“I write with serious concerns stemming from telephone call my staff received late on Friday afternoon from the Justice Department’s Office of Public Affairs (OPA) about the Committees’ ongoing investigation into the Internal Revenue Services’ targeting of conservative tax- exempt applicants,” Issa wrote. “A senior OPA official– under the apparent mistaken belief he had called the staff of Ranking Member Elijah E Cummings – asked if the Committee would release Committee documents to the media so that the Department could publicly comment on the material….This effort to preemptively release incomplete and selectively chosen information undermines the Department’s claims that it is responding in good faith.”
Issa gave General Holder an explicit deadline of Monday, September 15 to provide him with the appropriate information.
“The department’s efforts to prejudice the committee’s oversight work demands examination,” Issa wrote. “I ask that you provide a detailed explanation for each of the department’s ex parte communications with the minority members or staff about committee investigations or strategies for blocking and undermining oversight.”