"What happened was so outrageous, so demeaning, so un-judicial, so awful in every respect, that we just absolutely have reached a boiling point," said Rep. Louise Slaughter (N.Y.), senior Democrat on the House Rules Committee.
House Democrats are up in arms because Chairman Darrell Issa quickly adjourned a committee hearing on the IRS targeting of tea party groups without letting any Democrat speak. Lois Lerner, former head of tax-exempt groups at the IRS, had once again exercised her Fifth Amendment right and refused to answer questions during the hearing so Issa saw “no point in moving forward.”
However, because the committee chairman cut the microphone on Rep. Elijah Cummings as he tried to speak, House Democratic leaders are now saying that Issa “not only violated House rules, but also undermined the workings of democracy,” reports The Hill.
Cummings accused Issa of staging a politically motivated attack on the Obama administration without allowing the Democrats to respond — a dynamic he characterized as "un-American."
"Basically, what happened yesterday is Chairman Issa wanted to hold a hearing, and then shut it down before the Democrats could [utter] one syllable. There's definitely something wrong with that picture," Cummings said. "It is un-American, it is unfair, and I reminded Chairman Issa that each one of my colleagues on the Democratic side, we too are elected by 700,000 people, and they deserve a voice."
"The fact is, Mr. Cummings came to make a point of his objections to the process we've been going through," Issa said on Wednesday. "He was actually slandering me at the moment that the the mics did go off -- by claiming that this has not been a real investigation.
"This has been a bipartisan investigation by multiple committees in which we had testimony in multiple hearings...in which it was very clear there was targeting of conservative groups -- in which there were people acting outside the norm," he continued.
"We're going to continue our investigation. But just because Mr. Cummings would like to have a more convenient truth, doesn't give him the right to make a speech."
The House rejected a Democratic resolution on Thursday that condemned Issa’s conduct.