IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, appointed by President Barack Obama to steer the agency through the numerous investigations into the IRS targeting scandal, has donated close to $100,000 to Democrats and the party's organizations for more than four decades.
Koskinen donations include a total of $7,300 to the campaigns to elect Obama to the White House; $19,000 to the Democratic National Committee from 1988 to 2008; $3,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; and $2,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, according to official records of political contributions
, with 1979 being the earliest date on record.
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The 48th chief of the IRS has also donated to every Democratic candidate for president since 1980, and has given $3,800 to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her various political campaigns.
His most recent contribution was in February 2013 to Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, 10 months before his nomination on Dec. 23 was confirmed by the Senate after Democrats cut off a Republican-led filibuster.
In an interview with CNN Thursday, "Situation Room" host Wolf Blitzer noted that Koskinen is a Democrat and the concerns that have been raised that his party affiliation may preclude him from approaching the scandal objectively.
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Koskinen responded, "I've never been a partisan operative or political operative," but confirmed that he has contributed to campaigns for "the last 40 or 50 years."
He added, "I was actually asked by the [George W.] Bush administration to come in and work on Freddie Mac," where he initially served as nonexecutive chairman, and later CEO, CFO, and chief operating officer.
Unlike the IRS, which is a government agency, Freddie Mac is a government-sponsored public company.
Koskinen also served under President Bill Clinton as chairman of the President's Council on Y2K.
Koskinen's earliest contribution on record was a $1,000 donation to Gary Hart, then a Democratic candidate for Senate in Colorado and future two-time presidential candidate.
Koskinen came under heavy fire last week at a House Ways and Means Committee hearing during which Wisconsin GOP Rep. Paul Ryan blasted him for the disappearance of former IRS official Lois Lerner's emails and the destruction of her hard drive just 10 days after committee chairman Dave Camp wrote to Lerner's boss asking for the information.
Ohio GOP Rep. Mike Turner also was critical of Koskinen, telling him that his personal integrity and that of the agency were on the line because he had not contacted the FBI to investigate the loss of the emails.
Democrats, however, rushed to his defense and apologized to Koskinen for the way he was treated by Republicans during his testimony.
Massachusetts Rep. John Tierney, a 17-year veteran of the House said, "I don't think I've seen a display of this kind of disrespect in all the time I've been here in Congress, and it's unfortunate that anyone should have to be subjected to it."
Other Democrats have also staunchly defended Koskinen, the Daily Caller reported
California Rep. Xavier Becerra told Koskinen, "This hearing has been conducted as less of a hearing then it might have been an inquisition. You deserve better. You certainly are obligated to give truthful answers, and we appreciate your trying to."
Wisconsin Rep. Ron Kind said Koskinen was a "public servant who by all accounts is a model of integrity, honesty, and professionalism," and accused the committee of being "desperate to find any type of evidence that may point to a cover-up that does not exist."
And Massachusetts Rep. Richard Neal said, "You have an individual here who has a distinguished career, who served in Republican and Democratic administrations, coupled with the fact he took an oath today — unless those here didn't hear him take the oath or witnessed him take the oath, and then have [Ryan] suggest [to] him 'I don't believe you.' That is isn't the way this committee has functioned in the past."
Koskinen admitted to Blitzer that the loss of the emails looked "suspicious"
and that he considered it a "serious matter."
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