June 23, 2014

IRS ‘Not Being Forthcoming’

Not to worry; the IRS’s missing emails are just “Republican conspiracy theories.”

For those who still believe our modern-day government can still be accountable, last week’s IRS hearings before Congress were proof that things are going in the wrong direction. Then again, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest assured us Friday the whole thing is nothing but “Republican conspiracy theories.”

The IRS explanation for its targeting of Tea Party and Patriot groups for additional scrutiny has morphed over the last several months from being an isolated incident involving a few “rogue agents” in Cincinnati to its latest incredulous “dog ate the homework” scenario involving lost emails at a time conveniently coinciding with the heart of the period being investigated. At one point, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testified his belief that missing emails from Lois Lerner would be recoverable, only to change course last Friday by conceding the hard drives had been “recycled.” It’s an interesting time for the IRS to go green.

All this led an exasperated Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) to tell Koskinen, “Nobody believes you.” Ryan added, “You can reach into the lives of hard-working taxpayers and with a phone call, an email or a letter and you can turn their lives upside down. You ask taxpayers to hand us seven years of their personal tax information in case they’re ever audited, and you can’t keep six months’ worth of employee emails? I don’t believe you. This is incredible.”

Ryan went on to accuse the IRS chief of “not being forthcoming.” But why would Koskinen be forthcoming, since the actions of the IRS two years ago had their desired effect of leaving his boss Barack Obama in office? No one has to believe the IRS chief – he just has to play along in the cover-up.

Indeed, Koskinen remains defiant, telling the House Ways and Means Committee, “I don’t think an apology is owed” for not informing investigators about the email loss. “Not a single email has been lost since the start of this investigation,” Koskinen added, before blaming “the agency’s aging information-technology infrastructure” on a lack of funding. In fact, the Democrats on the committee apologized to Koskinen.

In advance of his testimony, the IRS commissioner also claimed that not all IRS emails qualify as “official records,” although the IRS Manual states otherwise. But we likely wouldn’t have known about this latest revelation if not for a Senate panel asking Koskinen to attest that all relevant information had been forwarded to Congress – it was only then we found out about this latest twist.

Meanwhile, The Daily Caller reports, “Lois Lerner’s computer allegedly crashed in June 2011, just ten days after House Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Dave Camp first wrote a letter asking if the IRS was engaging in targeting of nonprofit groups. Two months later, Sonasoft’s contract ended and the IRS gave its email-archiving contractor the boot.” Suspicious to say the least.

It may take a special prosecutor and granting immunity to certain participants to get to the bottom of this scandal. Even then, some may fall on their sword rather than rat out their supervisors. After all, the guy at the top has the power to pardon on his way out.

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