While Congressman Ryan’s exchange with the hapless IRS Commissioner Koskinen has garnered the most attention, today. Rep. Kevin Brady also had an interesting and edifying back and forth with him - blowing holes in IRS cover story.
In a tense exchange between the commissioner and the Texas Republican, Brady claimed Koskinen withheld information from the congressional investigation on the IRS.
“You knew in March, and you withheld the information from this congressional investigation, and in May you assured this committee that all of Ms. Lerner’s emails would be provided to us and yet you knew that was not possible,” Brady said.
Koskinen fervently denied he had any knowledge that Lerner’s e-mails were irretrievable by March, or that he withheld any information from the investigation.
Brady said, “the IRS denied for two years targeting of Americans based on their political beliefs. That wasn’t the truth. They said it was a few rogue agents in Cincinnati. That wasn’t the truth. You said you were targeting liberal organizations. That wasn’t the truth. Then you assured us you would provide us all the emails in May and that wasn’t the truth. And today, you are telling us out of thousands of IRS computers, the one that lost the emails was a person of interest in an ongoing congressional investigation. And that is not the truth either.”
Exit question: What’s the penalty for lying to Congress?
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen knew in February that Lois Lerner’s hard drive had “crashed” – but did not inform Congress until last week.
Worse yet, he has repeatedly told media outlets that he only knew of the crash in “late spring.”
Furthermore, a Treasury letter from April (repeatedly referenced by Rep. Brady) states that that department agreed with the IRS that Congress should be informed as soon as possible. And yet Koskinen did not inform Congress until last week.
Koskinen’s defense for what appears to be perjury or at least withholding critical information from Congress is this: I knew about the hard drive crash, but I didn’t know that emails would be irretrievable (and he maintains he doesn’t know if they can’t be retrieved), so I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want you jumping to unwarranted conclusions.
Ed Morrissey, The Fiscal Times: Lost IRS Emails Point to An Abuse of Power and Cover-Up
The closest insinuation between the IRS targeting scandal has been an unusual meeting between the IRS’ chief counsel, William Wilkins, and Obama on April 23, 2012. The chief counsel for the IRS would have no discernible reason for a private meeting with the president; his job would be to brief the IRS commissioner – at the time Douglas Shulman – who met with Obama the very next day.
The day after that, Wilkins sent a revised set of guidelines to Lois Lerner for the tax-exempt unit to use when applying extra scrutiny. To this day, no explanation for this meeting has been made public, even though records show that Wilkins spent hours at the White House with “POTUS” as his host.
Nor was this the first time that Wilkins appears in the targeting narrative. Carter Hull, a retired high-ranking IRS official with 48 years’ experience at the agency, testified that after he approved a Tea Party-related tax-exempt application, it got routed to Wilkins rather than finalized.