Jim Jordan: IRS Commissioner 'Isn't Being Square With Us'

Wednesday, 23 Jul 2014 08:33 PM

By Greg Richter

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IRS Commissioner John Koskinen isn't telling everything he knows about former IRS official Lois Lerner's missing emails, Rep. Jim Jordan says.

Appearing Wednesday on Fox News Channel's "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren,"  the Ohio Republican said, "It's hard to say" whether Koskinen is uninformed or being deceitful. But he added, "I think he isn't being square with us, and I confronted him on that."

Koskinen appeared before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday to answer more questions about Lerner's emails, which he has previously testified were lost when her hard drive crashed. Backups to the emails were written over after six months, he said.

But IRS lawyer Thomas Kane testified behind closed doors last week that the missing emails may still be retrievable. Republicans on the committee say they have learned that Lerner's hard drive may have been only scratched, not crashed, and the emails could have at one point been recovered.

IRS officials have said Lerner attempted to recover her emails from her crashed hard drive but was told by IT experts they couldn't be found.

The time period of missing emails correspond with the period when conservative groups were being targeted for added scrutiny by the IRS when they sought tax-exempt status.

Koskinen told Fox News after his Wednesday testimony that he wants people to understand that the IRS is not involved in politics.

"We're not politically motivated. When they hear from us, it has only to do with tax matters," he said.

Jordan told Van Susteren that Koskinen indicated Wednesday he never talked to IRS chief counsel Kate Duvall, who who knew in mid-February that Lerner's emails were unrecoverable, though Koskinen at the time made no mention of the fact during his congressional testimony.

The IRS publicly said on June 13 that the emails were lost, but Jordan was suspicious. He told Van Susteren that no emails between Lerner and the Justice Department were released by the IRS on the subject of the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling.

When the Oversight Committee subpoenaed the emails from Justice, it sent a letter to the IRS on June 9 asking why the agency didn't supply the emails. Four days later, the IRS announced Lerner's emails were lost in a hard-drive crash.

During Wednesday's hearing, Jordan confronted Koskinen.

"My theory is that you weren't ever going to tell us until we caught you," Jordan said.

"When you find any evidence to support that assertion, I'd be happy to see it," Koskinen replied.

Jordan said the IRS has identified 82 of its employees as being involved in the targeting scandal. Up to 20 of them have had hard-drive crashes.

"What's the odds of one-fourth of the people who are part of the investigation having a computer crash?" Jordan asked.

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