You may recall that only a week ago the House decided to postpone an impeachment vote for IRS commissioner John Koskinen in favor of holding hearings instead. This clearly distressed a number of conservatives who feel that the mismanagement of the agency and its various scandals were more than sufficient grounds to give the man his walking papers. Still, the hearings were bound to produce some fireworks and the first round certainly didn’t disappoint. Today I wanted to hit a few of the highlights.
Right out of the gate, Koskinen was asked about previous statements he’d made under oath regarding the preservation and recovery of emails and other documents from the entire Lois Lerner affair. When pressed on the subject, the commissioner didn’t exactly say that he’d lied about it, but did admit that some of the things he said turned out not to be true. (Independent Journal Review)
Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen admitted to making false statements while testifying under oath to a congressional committee Wednesday.
During his opening remarks in a House Judiciary Committee hearing where he was the sole witness, Koskinen acknowledged previous statements of his were indeed false:
“From the start, I directed IRS staff to cooperate fully with Congress and to recover lost information where possible, and I testified to the best of my knowledge. But the truth is that we did not succeed in preserving all of the information requested and some of my testimony later proved mistaken.”
I suppose that comes down to the age old question of whether you lied or you were simply wrong about something. That’s a question which the committee (and the public) will have to answer for themselves.
There was another question raised concerning the IRS employees who were found to have deleted all of those Lois Lerner emails. Surely these are the culprits we’re looking for here. I imagine they must be cooling their heels in jail by now or at least awaiting trial, right? Nope. Turns out that they are both still on the IRS payroll… just in a different department. (Washington Examiner)
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said Wednesday the two unnamed employees who destroyed thousands of emails belonging to Lois Lerner, former head of the tax-exempt unit, kept their jobs at the agency.
During his impeachment hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, Koskinen said the two officials had committed an “honest mistake” by wiping 422 back-up tapes believed to contain Lerner’s emails in 2014. The emails had been requested under a congressional subpoena during the investigation into the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups.
“The IG’s investigation found that they were not aware” of the subpoena, Koskinen said of the employees who scrubbed Lerner’s records.
Don’t even get me started on that entire saga again. We’ve written about it here extensively and the idea that someone in that department could have been “unaware” of the maelstrom surrounding their office is beyond the pale. But as long as the stonewall continues, there doesn’t seem to be much that anyone can do about it… short of impeaching the boss. Yet when he was asked about the rather, er… suspicious timing of all those records being destroyed, Koskinen didn’t have much of an answer. (Townhall)
Koskinen said he met with senior executives and was assured the emails would be saved.
“I was assured that was being done,” he noted.
Apparently the message “didn’t get to people who do the work of destroying emails,” Goodlatte said.
“All but two employees on the midnight shift in Spartansburg,” Koskinen responded. “That was a mistake and I took responsibility for it.”
So the message “didn’t get out.” I’m not sure if that’s the remarkable phrase in this exchange or the fact that you have people whose job it is to do the work of destroying emails. That’s a job? If it pays well I may have to look into that because it sounds pretty easy.
Still, for all of this, Koskinen is maintaining that any talk of impeachment is “unwarranted.” He keeps using that word. I don’t think it means what he thinks it means.