House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) tore into IRS Commissioner John Koskinen Monday night for avoiding questions about Lois Lerner’s missing emails, and why it has taken so long to produce them.
Issa finally wrote Koskinen off as untrustworthy and evasive, after Koskinen wouldn’t respond.
“My time has expired, and I’ve lost my patience with you,” Issa said as he passed the questioning off.
Koskinen testified that they had not in fact been backing up all records and that “emails are not official records under any official records act”.
That seems to go against IRS rules that stipulate that all emails that are sent or received during the work day must be printed out. Current U.S. law also appears to require the IRS to back up all of its systems.
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Koskinen replied that in order for the IRS to be able to back up all emails, not just the 6,000 each employee can, they would have needed to upgrade their systems, costing roughly $10M-$30M, a cost that Koskinen deemed was unsuitable due to the “budget constraints”.
Issa shot that answer down, asking, “On $1.8 B, isn’t the retention of key documents that the American people need to count on, like whether or not they’re being honestly treated by your employees… isn’t that in fact a priority that should’ve allowed for full retention?”
To that, Koskinen responded, “If we had the right resources, there’d be a lot of priorities we’d have.”
Issa again shot that answer down: “So the American people should believe that if they don’t have the resources to pay their taxes they shouldn’t pay their taxes, because if the IRS doesn’t have the resources it won’t keep records.”
Issa later compared this scandal to that of the coverup of Watergate and said that historians will study this issue without the aid of direct testimony from Lerner.
Last week, Koskinen’s depiction of what happened led the House Budget Committee Chairman, Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), to say he doesn’t believe Koskinen.
“I don’t believe it,” he said. “That’s your problem; nobody believes you.”