IRS Chief Refuses to Apologize Amid Accusations of Cover-up Over Missing E-mails

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen speaks at IRS headquarters in Washington. (AP)
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen speaks at IRS headquarters in Washington. (AP)

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said Friday there is no need for his agency to apologize amid accusations of a cover-up in the targeting scandal of conservative groups after claims surfaced that ex-official Lois Lerner’s hard drive was destroyed and emails from several other officials also have gone missing. 

Koskinen, testifying before the House Ways and Means Committee, faced angry accusations from lawmakers, including Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., who pressed the commissioner on the timeline of events and accused the agency of “keeping secrets.”

GOP lawmakers are furious after learning a week ago that many Lerner emails from a two-year period supposedly have disappeared. Committee Republicans now say that the IRS may have known about this for months, and that the agency may have lost emails from another six employees.

“The IRS in charge of hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ information. And you’re now saying your technology system was so poor that years’ worth of emails are forever unrecoverable?” Camp charged. “How does that put anyone at ease? How far would the excuse ‘I lost it’ get with the IRS for an average American trying to file their yearly taxes who may have lost a few receipts.”

To boot, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said he’s been told that Lerner’s hard drive was simply destroyed.

“They just got rid of it,” he told Fox News. “It really looks bad and I’ve got to say it looks like a cover-up to me.”

But Rep. Carl Levin, D- Mich., stood up for the IRS Friday and likened the investigation and calls of a cover-up to a political witch hunt brought on by Republicans who he claims will try “to tie the problem to the White House” and will “keep up this drumbeat until the November election.”

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