IRS Chief Under Fire on Capitol Hill for Missing Emails


The House Oversight Committee is holding hearings this week concerning the disappearance of a vast trove of emails from former IRS chief Lois Lerner. Yesterday, current IRS Commissioner John Koskinen faced pointed questioning from the committee, whose members appeared deeply skeptical of the agency's actions and motives. "We have a problem with you and you have a problem with credibility," declared House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) pressed the point further, accusing Koskinen of gross negligence and of failing to take the situation seriously.

"You have already said, multiple times today, that there was no evidence that you found of any criminal wrongdoing," said Gowdy. "I want you to tell me: What criminal statutes you have evaluated?"

"I have not looked at any," Koskinen was forced to concede.

Today the House Oversight Committee will hear testimony from Jennifer O'Connor, a current White House official who served at the IRS in 2013. As the Associated Press explains:

Issa subpoenaed O'Connor on Monday night after the White House declined his invitation to have her testify. After getting the subpoena, the White House relented.

Issa said he wants to question O'Connor about former IRS official Lois Lerner's lost emails. The IRS said Lerner's computer crashed in 2011, and emails she had archived on the hard drive were lost….

"Before her promotion to the White House, Ms. O'Connor led the response to the congressional targeting inquiry and she is uniquely qualified to explain why attorneys did not focus on and flag Lerner's 'lost' emails at the outset," Issa said.

Meanwhile, as Reason's Peter Suderman reported yesterday, the IRS had at least one contract with an email backup company during that time whose services were designed to safeguard against the very loss of emails now at issue. "The agency said that emails stored on dead drives were lost forever because its email backup tapes were recycled every six months, and employees were responsible for keeping their own long-term archives," Suderman wrote. Yet "the IRS had a contract with email backup service vendor Sonasoft starting in 2005, according to, which lists the contract as being for 'automatic data processing services.' Sonasoft's motto is 'email archiving done right,' and the company lists the IRS as a customer."

NEXT: Jonah Goldberg's Excellent Take-Down of Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century

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  1. Why do I keep reading the same tired dreck….there is never any accountability or legal outcome. A backup company was on the payroll for archiving emails…call them on the carpet, get some answers. This government is exhausting any credibility IT has!

  2. The problem is the same as always…as long as the Democrats control the Senate and Harry Reid is majority leader, none of these House invesigations are going to go anywhere because Reid will never allow any sort of vote to reachthe Senate floor.

    That’s the really frustrating part about it…the House can grill these people on TV, expose them for the incompetent sycophants they are, but because of one corrupt shitheel in the Senate who controls what comes up for a vote, it can never go anywhere.

    I’m not a fan of the GOP, but I want them to win in November simply because it removes Reid the Human Chancre from his leadership position in the Senate.

    1. And of course, Obama thanks Reid by having the DOJ lean on the FBI to keep them at bay in the Reid’s corruption investigation. It’s blatantly obvious why Reid is doing this…if he didn’t, he’d be going to prison.

  3. “The agency said that emails stored on dead drives were lost forever because its email backup tapes were recycled every six months, and employees were responsible for keeping their own long-term archives,” Suderman wrote.

    Sounds to me that, if I hadn’t paid my taxes for the past several years, and my attorney and I could make proof of my innocence disappear in a tape backup recycling.

  4. Did you miss this article and video?…..skinen.php

    Someone suggested that this outspoken South Carolinian might make for a good US Attorney General some day…

    1. I think he’d be a fabulous AG. On social issues, he’s a bit too conservative for my tastes, but he seems to have a genuine respect for both the letter and the intent of the law and there should always be room in our government for people like that.

  5. The press keeps saying missing, when it is becoming increasingly obvious the servers were deliberately taken off-line at both the IRS and the EPA while still paying the bills for said service. A deliberate act to hide evidence.

    Given the NSA records EVERYTHING, why don’t we tap their million acre server farm with the bazillion terabyte capacity of information, surly if they record as much as they claim to, the emails are there.

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