One of the conservative activists targeted by the IRS filed an ethics complaint against a senior Democratic House member, accusing him of misrepresenting his authority and “abuse of power.”
Catherine Engelbrecht, founder of True the Vote and the King Street Patriots, discussed the complaint at Thursday’s heated House Oversight Committee hearing, directing her allegations at Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the committee’s ranking Democrat, according to Fox News.
“Congressman Cummings on three separate occasions sent letters on letterhead from this committee, stating that he had concerns and felt it necessary to open an investigation on True the Vote,” Engelbrecht testified at the hearing.
After she applied for tax-exempt status, she said, “an assortment of federal entities including law enforcement agencies, and Congressman Cummings came knocking at my door.”
Engelbrecht filed the complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics, alleging that Cummings “misrepresented his authority as a Member of Congress to intimidate me and others associated with me, and which may be responsible for a series of incursions into my personal, organizational and business affairs by various federal agencies, agents and bureaucracies over the past four years,” according to Fox News.
“We believe that Rep Cummings’ actions have violated the House rules, represent an abuse of power on his part and are unethical and arrogant,” the complaint said.
Cleta Mitchell, an attorney representing Engelbrecht at the hearing, said the congressman may have encouraged federal agencies to zero in on her.
Cummings denied any wrongdoing, saying the allegations were “absolutely incorrect and not true.”
He acknowledged letters were sent out from the ranking member — which is his title on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
But he claimed he was merely looking into whether voting rights were being infringed.
“I did nothing different than what [Committee Chairman Darrell Issa] has done with looking into situations,” Cummings said. “And I don’t want it put out there that I was trying to act on behalf of the committee or anything unusual. We were basically looking into voting situations and whether voters were in any way, in any way being impeded from voting.”
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