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Defiant IRS head, skeptical GOP interrogators

  • Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen is sworn in on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, June 20, 2014, prior to testifying before the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on whether tea party groups were improperly targeted for increased scrutiny by the IRS. The IRS asserts it can't produce emails from seven officials connected to the tea party investigation because of computer crashes, including the emails from Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of the investigation who has invoked her Fifth Amendment right at least nine times to avoid answering lawmakers' questions.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

    Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen is sworn in on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, June 20, 2014, prior to testifying before the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on whether tea party groups were improperly targeted for increased scrutiny by the IRS. The IRS asserts it can't produce emails from seven officials connected to the tea party investigation because of computer crashes, including the emails from Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of the investigation who has invoked her Fifth Amendment right at least nine times to avoid answering lawmakers' questions. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp , R-Mich., questions Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen as he appears before the committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, June 20, 2014, in their continuing probe of whether tea party groups were improperly targeted for increased scrutiny by the IRS. The IRS asserts it can't produce emails from seven officials connected to the tea party investigation because of computer crashes, including the emails from Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of the investigation who has invoked her Fifth Amendment right at least nine times to avoid answering lawmakers' questions.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

    House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp , R-Mich., questions Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen as he appears before the committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, June 20, 2014, in their continuing probe of whether tea party groups were improperly targeted for increased scrutiny by the IRS. The IRS asserts it can't produce emails from seven officials connected to the tea party investigation because of computer crashes, including the emails from Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of the investigation who has invoked her Fifth Amendment right at least nine times to avoid answering lawmakers' questions. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen talks to reporters during a break in his appearance before the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on their continuing probe of whether tea party groups were improperly targeted for increased scrutiny by the IRS, Friday, June 20, 2014, on Capitol Hill in Washington. The IRS asserts it can't produce emails from seven officials connected to the tea party investigation because of computer crashes, including the emails from Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of the investigation who has invoked her Fifth Amendment right at least nine times to avoid answering lawmakers' questions.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

    Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen talks to reporters during a break in his appearance before the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on their continuing probe of whether tea party groups were improperly targeted for increased scrutiny by the IRS, Friday, June 20, 2014, on Capitol Hill in Washington. The IRS asserts it can't produce emails from seven officials connected to the tea party investigation because of computer crashes, including the emails from Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of the investigation who has invoked her Fifth Amendment right at least nine times to avoid answering lawmakers' questions. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • FILE - This March 5, 2014 file photo shows former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) official Lois Lerner speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Internal Revenue Service has lost more emails connected to the tea party investigation, congressional investigators said Tuesday. The IRS said last Friday it had lost an untold number of emails when Lois Lerner's computer crashed in 2011. Lerner used to head the division that handles applications for tax-exempt status.  (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke, File)

    FILE - This March 5, 2014 file photo shows former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) official Lois Lerner speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Internal Revenue Service has lost more emails connected to the tea party investigation, congressional investigators said Tuesday. The IRS said last Friday it had lost an untold number of emails when Lois Lerner's computer crashed in 2011. Lerner used to head the division that handles applications for tax-exempt status. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke, File)

  • Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen is sworn in on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, June 20, 2014, prior to testifying before the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on whether tea party groups were improperly targeted for increased scrutiny by the IRS. The IRS asserts it can't produce emails from seven officials connected to the tea party investigation because of computer crashes, including the emails from Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of the investigation who has invoked her Fifth Amendment right at least nine times to avoid answering lawmakers' questions.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
  • House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp , R-Mich., questions Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen as he appears before the committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, June 20, 2014, in their continuing probe of whether tea party groups were improperly targeted for increased scrutiny by the IRS. The IRS asserts it can't produce emails from seven officials connected to the tea party investigation because of computer crashes, including the emails from Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of the investigation who has invoked her Fifth Amendment right at least nine times to avoid answering lawmakers' questions.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen talks to reporters during a break in his appearance before the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on their continuing probe of whether tea party groups were improperly targeted for increased scrutiny by the IRS, Friday, June 20, 2014, on Capitol Hill in Washington. The IRS asserts it can't produce emails from seven officials connected to the tea party investigation because of computer crashes, including the emails from Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of the investigation who has invoked her Fifth Amendment right at least nine times to avoid answering lawmakers' questions.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
  • FILE - This March 5, 2014 file photo shows former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) official Lois Lerner speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Internal Revenue Service has lost more emails connected to the tea party investigation, congressional investigators said Tuesday. The IRS said last Friday it had lost an untold number of emails when Lois Lerner's computer crashed in 2011. Lerner used to head the division that handles applications for tax-exempt status.  (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke, File)

Defiant before skeptical Republicans, the head of the IRS refused to apologize yesterday for lost emails that might shed light on the tax agency’s targeting of Tea Party and other groups before the 2010 and 2012 elections.

Instead, Commissioner John Koskinen accused the chairman of a powerful House committee of misleading the public by making false statements based on incomplete information.

The contentious back-and-forth didn’t end there. Later in the hearing, Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republicans’ vice presidential candidate two years ago, told Koskinen bluntly that “nobody believes you.”

“I have a long career. That’s the first time anybody has said they do not believe me,” said Koskinen, who came out of retirement in December to take over the IRS. Previously, he served in other positions under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

The hearing showed that emotions are running hotter than ever in the dispute over the IRS and political fundraising.

Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, asked Koskinen to testify a week after the IRS disclosed that it had lost an untold number of emails to and from Lois Lerner. Lerner headed the division that processes applications for tax-exempt status during a time when, the IRS has acknowledged, agents improperly scrutinized applications from Tea Party and other conservative groups.

Camp was clearly expecting Koskinen to be more contrite.

“What I didn’t hear in that was an apology to this committee,” Camp said after Koskinen’s opening statement.

“I don’t think an apology is owed,” replied Koskinen.

The IRS commissioner also dismissed Camp’s call for a special prosecutor to investigate, saying it would be “a monumental waste of taxpayer funds.”

Later, White House spokesman Josh Earnest was equally dismissive. “I’m not sure that there’s a whole lot more to be discovered here,” Earnest said.

The IRS says it lost Lerner’s emails when her computer crashed in June 2011. At the time, technicians went to extraordinary means to recover them, even sending Lerner’s hard drive to agency’s forensic lab, Koskinen said. But to no avail.

In 2011, the IRS had a policy of backing up emails on computer tapes, but the tapes were recycled every six months, Koskinen said. He said Lerner’s hard drive was recycled and presumably destroyed.

“I am sitting here listening to this testimony. I just, I don’t believe it,” said Ryan. “That’s your problem. Nobody believes you.”

When Koskinen objected, Ryan cut him off: “I don’t believe you.”

Democrats on the committee were much more accommodating to Koskinen.

“I want to apologize to you for the way you’re being treated this morning,” said Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat. “I thought this was a hearing and not a trial.”

The IRS was able to generate 24,000 Lerner emails from the 2009 to 2011 period because she had copied in other IRS employees. Overall, the IRS said it is producing 67,000 emails to and from Lerner, covering the period from 2009 to 2013

On Monday, IRS technicians told the congressional panel’s staff that the hard drives of six other workers involved in the probe had also crashed. Among them was Nikole Flax, who was chief of staff to Lerner’s boss, then-deputy commissioner Steven Miller.

Yesterday, Koskinen increased the total to eight including Lerner’s – saying the agency had discovered another crashed hard drive.

Legacy Comments6

Yes, I watched this hearing and in the light of the arrogance of the head of this agencyt and the fact that just those people caught in this investigation had hard drive crashes. It was not surprising that the Democrats on the panel were just interested in obstruction and shielding what they know in their heart of hearts was wrong. I support legislation which allows the public, the press and Congress to see, immediately, any email correspondence from and to certain offices and public servants. I would say any correspondence, meeting notes and other information that does not involve names of regular citizens or national security. It is time that we stop with the lies and devious behavior out of Washington, DC. Period. This scandal is the equivalent of Watergate or perhaps even worse.

Yeah, I watched this hearing. I should know better but I guess I am a sucker for punishment. I could not believe this guy, but yet again I have seen many other Dept Heads act the same way. They get arrogant and go from there to stupidity. These folks forget they work for us and hiding the truth makes us more determined and convinced that they are in fact corrupt. They seem to have taken to heart what their American Idol Leader has told them. Destroy Our Enemies! Most of the lefties ignore these hearings, because they do not want to believe that this administration is corrupt. And my guess is that many of them are okay with the IRS targeting conservatives. They better wake up and smell the coffee. When you give any Govt Dept that much power, it is just a matter of time before that power is used on you.

I could not believe the arrogance from a person who is a public "servant", serving at the will of the American people. VA bonuses, the GSA scandal, the VA and on and on. You see it with state employees right here in this state like the two DES supervisors blogging all day at work two years ago. Progressives can say what they want about businesses but in business, the kind of incompetence found in government would result in immediate terminations, no severance, no retirement and perhaps some prison time. You are also correct that the Left could care less about the rule of law or corruption so long as the ends justify the means and they get their way. If even one of these things happened under Bush, they would be calling for his head on a platter.

It would appear not even the most partisan democrats believe this story. Who could?

If you dont think there was criminal action in this major SCANDAL then you are a LIDV OBamanista

what was it Azzi said in his column again? "Accept there are some things you will never know."....How convenient...here is another one of those things.

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