House Republicans expressed outrage yesterday to the head of the IRS, saying his agency lost all credibility when it lost years’ worth of emails from the IRS official who first admitted that her agency had targeted conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said emails from Lois Lerner, the now-resigned director of exempt organizations at the IRS, vanished after her computer crashed in 2011. IT officials tried but could not find many emails that Lerner had sent and received between 2009 and 2011, during the height of increased IRS scrutiny of 501(c) organizations.
At a hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee, Koskinen described the agency’s IT system as a “Model T,” but Republican lawmakers accused the agency of trying to hide information.
“There is simply no excuse for what happened,” said Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas.
In exchanges bristling with mutual hostility, Republicans angrily protested that the
Treasury and the White House knew about the lost emails months before Congress did.
Koskinen remained defiant, countering that he wanted to wait until his agency had completed its investigation before briefing Congress. He said that when he had released information early to the committee, the committee sent out a news release with information that later proved to be wrong.
Releasing the results before all the information is collected, he said, “simply results in press releases and angry emails to me.”
SOURCE: Jessica Wehrman
The Columbus Dispatch