Tag Archives: John Koskinen

Judge: I Will Hold IRS Commissioner In Contempt

By Patrick Howley 

A federal judge is threatening to hold IRS commissioner John Koskinen in contempt for his agency’s failure to turn over emails sent by disgraced former IRS official Lois Lerner.

“I will haul into court the IRS Commissioner to hold him personally into contempt,” U.S. District Court Judge Emmett Sullivan said Wednesday in a hearing related to the nonprofit group Judicial Watch’s lawsuit against the IRS for Lerner’s emails.

Sullivan issued an order July 1 requiring the IRS and its legal representatives at the Department of Justice to brief his court with “status reports” on the search for Lerner’s emails. Though the IRS recently found more emails, the agency did not give Sullivan a status report.

Sullivan called the IRS’ inability to follow his order “indefensible, ridiculous, and absurd.”

Sullivan also threatened to hold Department of Justice attorneys in contempt.

The IRS claims that Lerner’s computer crashed, erasing her emails, during the period in which she was improperly targeting conservative groups. (RELATED: Justice Department Blocked Search for Lerner’s Emails). 

Lerner was already held in contempt by Congress, but still has not forked over her emails.

Republicans in Congress are currently calling for IRS commissioner John Koskinen’s firing — a sentiment echoed by GOP presidential contenders including Mike Huckabee.

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IRS Tech Experts Claim That Lois Lerner’s Hard Drive Was Only “Scratched”

In a press release Tuesday, the Ways And Means Committee discovered through interviews with IRS technology experts that former IRS official Lois Lerner’s hard drive was scratched, but not unrecoverable. In addition to this discovery, the release stated that professionals within the agency had advised the IRS to seek independent assistance to retrieve the data, and this recommendation was ignored.

According to the press release, “investigators have now learned from interviews that the hard drive of former IRS Exempt Organizations Director Lois Lerner was ‘scratched’, but data was recoverable.”

Not only did the press release contradict previous testimony claiming that all efforts to recover Lerner’s hard drive had been exhausted, but it also stated that “a review of internal IRS IT tracking system documents revealed that Lerner’s computer was actually once described as ‘recovered.’” IRS IT employees were unable to clarify exactly what “recovered” meant.

Last month, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen had testified that Lerner’s hard drive was unrecoverable and had been “recycled”, or destroyed. Koskinen said he was unsure if the hard drive had been smashed or melted down, but he admitted that it was indeed physically destroyed.

In another twist, IRS Deputy Associate Chief Counsel Thomas Kane testified on July 17th that he was unsure if backup tapes of Lerner’s emails were actually recycled. IRS officials had previously claimed that all backup tapes of emails were recycled after six months.

Experts say the IRS should have documentation of the elimination of  Lerner’s hard drive, but proof of its destruction is still yet to be found.

“From a purely contractual standpoint, if you send something over to a contractor, you would have to get a statement back saying they actually completed the work to actually pay them … because then you would know that it was destroyed,said government tech official Karen Evans.

What began as an inquiry into allegations of the IRS unfairly targeting conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status has grown into a mystifying examination of the incompetence of the IRS in its inability to properly keep records.

“The Committee was told no data was recoverable and the physical drive was recycled and potentially shredded.  To now learn that the hard drive was only scratched, yet the IRS refused to utilize outside experts to recover the data, raises more questions about potential criminal wrong doing at the IRS,” said Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI).

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) disagrees with the investigation, and sent a letter to House Oversight and Government Reform Chair Darrell Issa (R-CA) objecting to Koskinen being called to testify a third time, declaring it “public harassment of an agency head”.

 

 

Paul Ryan to IRS Commissioner: “I just, I don’t believe it. That’s your problem, nobody believes you.”

 

Americans are outraged over the IRS’ claim that a “computer glitch” erased the hard drives of all incriminating evidence of Lois Lerner’s emails. 

Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wis) made a statement to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen today calling him out for an obvious political cover-up.

“This is unbelievable,” said Ryan. “I am sitting here listening to this testimony… I  just, I don’t believe it. That’s your problem, nobody believes you.”

“You are the Internal Revenue Service. You can reach into the lives of hard-working taxpayers and with a phone call, an email, or a letter you can turn their lives upside-down. You ask taxpayers to hang on to seven years of their personal tax information in case they are ever audited, and you can’t keep six months’ worth of employee emails?”

Many Americans feel the same anger and frustration Ryan voiced today, but will Ryan do anything about it? Will Ryan try to eliminate the IRS completely?

Congressman Steve Stockman (R-TX) said, “The United States was founded on the belief government is subservient and accountable to the people.  Taxpayers shouldn’t be expected to follow laws the Obama administration refuses to follow themselves,” said Stockman.  “Taxpayers should be allowed to offer the same flimsy, obviously made-up excuses the Obama administration uses.”

Stockman’s bill, “The Dog Ate My Tax Receipts Act,” will allow taxpayers to offer the same lame excuses as the IRS did today.
The full text of the resolution follows:

The resolution may be cited as the “Dog Ate My Tax Receipts Resolution.”

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) must allow taxpayers the same lame excuses for missing documentation that the IRS itself is currently proffering

Whereas, the IRS claims that convenient, unexplained, miscellaneous computer malfunction is sufficient justification not to produce specific, critical documentation; and,

Whereas, fairness and Due Process demand that the American taxpayer be granted no less latitude than we afford the bureaucrats employed presently at the IRS;

Now, therefore, be it resolved that it is the sense of the House of Representatives that unless and until the Internal Revenue Service produces all documentation demanded by subpoena or otherwise by the House of Representatives, or produces an excuse that passes the red face test,

All taxpayers shall be given the benefit of the doubt when not producing critical documentation, so long as the taxpayer’s excuse therefore falls into one of the following categories:

1.         The dog ate my tax receipts
2.         Convenient, unexplained, miscellaneous computer malfunction
3.         Traded documents for five terrorists
4.         Burned for warmth while lost in the Yukon
5.         Left on table in Hillary’s Book Room
6.         Received water damage in the trunk of Ted Kennedy’s car
7.         Forgot in gun case sold to Mexican drug lords
8.         Forced to recycle by municipal Green Czar
9.         Was short on toilet paper while camping
10.       At this point, what difference does it make?

In any case, IRS can see the NSA for a good, high quality copy.

Testimony From IRS Commissioner Claimed Lerner’s Emails Were Archived

While the White House has defended the IRS in its explanation of former IRS official Lois Lerner’s lost emails, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) offered a reminder that IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testified in March 2014 that IRS employee emails had been stored on servers.

In the video, Koskinen testified that his own emails were not all on his computer, but “stored somewhere”.

“I mean, that’s one of the brilliance of the email system, is you go in, you check the set box, the inbox, and you suddenly have all the emails, correct?” Chaffetz asked Koskinen.

“Right, they get taken off and stored in servers,” Koskinen replied. He then declared that Lerner’s emails could be found, although he said he had no idea how much time the search would take when pressed by Chaffetz.

Email exchanges from 2011 show that Lerner’s computer hard drive did crash followed by unsuccessful attempts to recover it and Lerner summarizing, “sometimes stuff just happens.”

Since the IRS revealed the loss of Lerner’s emails, many Republicans, including Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Dave Camp (R-MI), have expressed doubt that Lerner’s emails could be easily destroyed. The IRS explained that there was a limit to how many emails IRS employees could store on servers.

In 2011, the limit was about 1,800 emails and “each employee got to choose which emails to keep and which to archive in the hard drive on their computer,” according to The Hill. Hard copies were supposed to be made of “official documents,” but it is unclear who was responsible for making that determination.

On Monday, incoming White House spokesman Josh Earnest disregarded the increased skepticism from Republicans and the American public over the lost emails. “You’ve never heard of a computer crashing before?” Earnest asked reporters“I think it’s entirely reasonable, because it’s the truth and it’s a fact, and speculation otherwise I think is indicative of the kinds of conspiracies that are propagated around this story.  And they’re propagated in a way that has left people with a very mistaken impression about what exactly occurred,” Earnest said.

Koskinen was subpoenaed to appear before the Oversight Committee on June 23rd.  “Congress passed the Federal Records Act (FRA) to preserve key documents—such as those that were stored on Lerner’s hard drive—for production to congressional investigators and other stakeholders, including historians and FOIA requesters.  The FRA requires agencies to make and preserve records of agency decisions, policies, and essential transactions, and to take steps to safeguard against the loss of agency records,” wrote Issa, who serves as the chairman for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

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