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Issa Slams New IRS Chief: Agency Still Withholding Documents

Image: Issa Slams New IRS Chief: Agency Still Withholding Documents IRS Commissioner John Koskinen

By Melanie Batley   |   Wednesday, 26 Mar 2014 01:10 PM

Rep. Darrell Issa, the House Oversight and Reform Committee chairman tasked with running  congressional investigations into the IRS tea party targeting scandal, blasted the agency's new commissioner Wednesday, accusing him of being more concerned with managing the political fallout than cooperating with the probe.

According to Politico,
the California Republican went head-to-head with IRS Chief John Koskinen over the "dismal" pace at which the agency was supplying documents related to the investigation which the panel requested last year.

"Does a nonpartisan or nonpolitical agency withhold documents requested during a congressional investigation? The IRS does and did," Issa said, according to Politico. "You've been more concerned with managing the political fallout."

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Koskinen said that IRS employees have spent nearly 100,000 hours and $8 million sending more than 1 million pages of documents to the committees, Politico reported.

"We are working through the process. We never said we wouldn't provide those. We will provide, we are actually trying to, in an orderly way, conclude the investigation," Koskinen said, according to Politico. "You may want this investigation to go on forever."

Koskinen, who was sworn in as commissioner in January, said at the time that the agency had provided the "vast majority" of information requested by Congress, and that he believed the investigation was in "the home stretch."

He also acknowledged at that time that the scandal, which saw many cases of conservative groups being targeted for heightened scrutiny, cost the agency the public trust but he hoped to turn that around.

Other Republicans on the committee, however, were clear that they do not trust the IRS and accused Koskinen of obstructing the congressional probes.

"Our witness today won't get us [former IRS official Lois Lerner's] emails. The guy who can give us the emails won't give us the emails. The same people who pressured Lois Lerner to fix the problem are the same people who picked John Koskinen to finish the job," Ohio GOP Rep. Jim Jordan said, according to Politico.

Democrats on the investigation's panel say Republicans are deliberately trying to give the controversy new life purely out of political motivations.

"This is all to feed the base. It is designed to get certain groups all riled up in time for a midterm election. There are some of us here that wish you well and will try to cooperate with you," Democratic Virginia Rep. Gerry Connolly said, according to Politico.

"[But] be aware, unfortunately this committee has a history of cherry picking the facts."

Urgent: Who Is Your Choice for the GOP's 2016 Nominee?

Related stories:

IRS Says It Spent $7.9 Million on Congressional Probes

Issa, Republicans Blast Decision Not to Pursue Criminal Charges in IRS Scandal

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