-IRS Commissioner John Koskinen
Note well the smirk on the face of the IRS Commissioner during this hearing. That smirk was on display all hearing long especially when he said no apology was owed to anyone because, well, they have lost anything in the last few months.
Can we use that excuse during an audit?
Today’s hearing about the IRS scandal told us one thing for sure. The IRS and this Administration is hiding something.
The IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has long tried to do the “I know nutting!” song and dance by asserting that he only found out about the missing emails a few months ago. One question would be even if this was true why would it take him a few months to let the investigating committee’s know?
But it’s not true:
“You already knew in March they were not retrievable,” [Rep. Kevin] Brady alleged. “A, you didn’t inform the congressional investigation. B, two months later you told us you would provide all the emails without limitations. And you knew you didn’t have them.”
“By March, I did not know they were irretrievable,” Koskinen countered. Brady interrupted and reminded the commissioner that he had just testified under oath that he was aware of the problems associated with the emails in March.
“Mr. Commissioner, why, at this point, why should anyone believe you?” Brady asked.
“The IRS denied for two years targeting of Americans based on their political beliefs. That wasn’t the truth. They said it was a few rogue agents in Cincinnati. That wasn’t the truth. You said you were targeting liberal organizations. That wasn’t the truth. Then you assured us you would provide us all the emails in May and that wasn’t the truth. And today, you are telling us out of thousands of IRS computers, the one that lost the emails was a person of interest in an ongoing congressional investigation. And that is not the truth either.”
Rep. Paul Ryan blasted Koskinen over the lies:
Isn’t quite coincidental that this epidemic of hard-drive failures only occurred on computers that principal players in this scandal used?
The lies kept growing and growing as the hearing went on. Ways and Means chair Dave Camp told the Commissioner that he received notice from the White House that the Administration had been advised of the missing emails in April, long before the investigating committees were. He asked why that would be?
“The IRS knew in February, or maybe even in March, and Treasury and the White House knew at least in April — but Congress and the American people didn’t find out until June. Were you purposely not telling us?” House Ways and Means Chair Dave Camp (R-Mich.) asked Koskinen. “Were you purposely not revealing this to the American people?”
“No, as I told you…our original thought was to complete the Lois Lerner email production–complete the review of what other custodians (IRS employees) had a problem, and produce a report to you, laying it all out,” Koskinen said.
“So why did the IRS inform the Executive Branch agencies, the White House, the administration, but kept it secret from the Congress, who was conducting an investigation?” Camp asked.
The Commissioner’s excuse was that he reported it to his parent agency, Treasury, and that he has no communication with the White House. That’s odd seeing how his predecessor, Douglas Shulman, visiting the White House almost every week.
Publicly released records show that embattled former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman visited the White House at least 157 times during the Obama administration, more recorded visits than even the most trusted members of the president’s Cabinet.
But the new Commissioner now has NO communication with the White House at all but somehow they were informed of the “problem” in April.
This thing stinks to high heaven.
The closest insinuation between the IRS targeting scandal has been an unusual meeting between the IRS’ chief counsel, William Wilkins, and Obama on April 23, 2012. The chief counsel for the IRS would have no discernible reason for a private meeting with the president; his job would be to brief the IRS commissioner – at the time Douglas Shulman – who met with Obama the very next day.
The day after that, Wilkins sent a revised set of guidelines to Lois Lerner for the tax-exempt unit to use when applying extra scrutiny. To this day, no explanation for this meeting has been made public, even though records show that Wilkins spent hours at the White House with “POTUS” as his host.