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Republicans slam IRS commissioner; Subpoena White House lawyer in 'missing emails' case

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
6/24/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in unflattering spotlight over Lois Lerner's emails

Republicans have called IRS Commissioner John Koskinen to task during a tense hearing on Monday over the disappearance of emails tied to the agency's tea party targeting scandal. Said emails, covering the period January 2009 to April 2011, belonged to embattled former IRS official Lois Lerner. The electronic missives may reveal whether a scheme to single out conservative groups for unjust scrutiny was guided by members of Congress or administration officials outside the IRS.

John Koskinen maintained that 'it is not unusual for computers anywhere to fail, especially at the IRS in light of the aged equipment IRS employees often have to use in light of the continual cuts in its budget these past four years.'

John Koskinen maintained that "it is not unusual for computers anywhere to fail, especially at the IRS in light of the aged equipment IRS employees often have to use in light of the continual cuts in its budget these past four years."

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
6/24/2014 (3 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Darrell Issa, John Koskinen, emails, hearing, IRS


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "The committee requested all of Lois Lerner's emails over a year ago," House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa said. "And we subpoenaed the emails in August 2013 and again in February 2014. ... You worked to cover up the fact they were missing and only came forward to fess up on a Friday afternoon after you had been caught red-handed.

"You personally did not cause the targeting," he told Koskinen, referring to the tea party scandal. "You personally did not destroy the emails. But by your actions and your deception, you now own this scandal.

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"We have a problem with you," Issa declared at the end of a three-hour, 36-minute ordeal, "and you have a problem maintaining your credibility."

The hearing came as the result of a subpoena and will continue with an appearance from another Obama administration official.

Issa subpoenaed White House lawyer Jennifer O'Connor this week. He had invited her last week to testify during the Tuesday session. White House Counsel W. Neil Eggleston, however wrote Issa to say his underling would not appear.

Before O'Connor's promotion to the White House Counsel's office, she was counsel to then-Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel.

The IRS informed congressional investigators less than two weeks ago that a hard drive crash had destroyed 28 months of emails to and from Lerner, who led the IRS's office in charge of vetting and policing tax-exempt nonprofit groups.

Koskinen maintained that "it is not unusual for computers anywhere to fail, especially at the IRS in light of the aged equipment IRS employees often have to use in light of the continual cuts in its budget these past four years.

"Since Jan. 1 of this year, for example," he claimed, "over 2,000 employees have suffered hard drive crashes."

He also referred several times to a lack of budget resources within the IRS. Koskinen then raised the issue when asked why the agency didn't do a better job keeping a backup of Lerner's emails.

A visibly agitated Issa insisted that Americans should be able to know "they're being honestly treated by your employees, especially somebody at such a high level. Isn't that in fact a priority that should have allowed for full retention?"

"If we had the right resources, there would be a lot of priorities," Koskinen retorted.

"So the American people should believe that if they don't have the resources to pay their taxes, they shouldn't pay their taxes" Issa jabbed, "because if the IRS doesn't have the resources, it won't keep records?

"That's pretty much what you're telling us here tonight, is that resources are a question of whether or not you retain key documents."

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