American Elephants

“Nobody Believes You” by The Elephant's Child

New IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testified June 20, at a Ways and Means Committee hearing. You have undoubtedly heard of the upwardly spiraling obfuscations from the IRS attempting to prove that all the claims of wrongdoing are wrong, wrong, wrong, Nothing to see here. Just move along. Is this inquiry just another Republican fishing expedition trying to get the goods on the administration? Hardly.

It’s a big deal because this one particular agency collects $2.4 trillion in taxes from 234 million taxpayer returns. They have the power to probe deeply into your personal finances and personal affairs, make your life a living hell, ruin your reputation and send you to jail. That’s a lot of power and if the agency is crooked, reveals personal financial information to outside agencies, and acts as the partisan arm of one political party against another, the public has the right to not only ask some pertinent questions, but to demand that the agency clean up its act. From today’s hearing:

Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) and New IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

Ryan: I am sitting here listening to this testimony. . . . I don’t believe it. That’s your problem. Nobody believes you. The Internal Revenue Service comes to Congress a couple of years ago and misleads us and says no targeting is occurring.

Then it said it was a few rogue agencies in Cincinnati. Then it said it was also on progressives. All those things have been proven untrue. This committee sent a criminal referral of possible criminal wrongdoing, just a month ago, to the Justice Department and we’ve heard nothing. You bury, in a 27-page letter to the Senate, asking for them to conclude the investigation, that you’ve lost Lois Lerner’s emails during the time in question because of a hard drive crash. . . . Monday our investigators asked your agency whether any other hard drives crashed and we learn that six other hard drives of the people we are investigating were involved. . . . you didn’t tell us that!

Koskinen: We told you on Monday.

Ryan: You told us on Monday because we asked you whether any other hard drives crashed. This is unbelievable. You told us in May that you were going to give us all of Lois Lerner’s emails and you learned in February that this crashed.

Koskinen: I did not learn in February of the crash and we told you on Monday.

Ryan: I’m not asking a question, I’m making a statement.

Koskinen: I’m sorry.

Ryan: You are the IRS. . . . You learned about this months ago, you just told us, and we had to ask you on Monday. This is not being forthcoming. This is being misleading again. This is a pattern of abuse, a pattern of behavior, that is not giving us any confidence that this agency is being impartial. I don’t believe you.

I have heard on the radio and read statements by numerous IT people, who say that a hard drive crash doesn’t mean that you cannot get the information on it, you can read it with a magnifying glass, and that there are backups on the system servers and beyond. I don’t believe him either. Some IT experts said they could find the emails in about an hour if they could get into the system. Good for Paul Ryan.

Mr. Koskinen was confirmed as the new IRS Commissioner  on the 20th of December. The IRS currently has 89,000 employees, only part of whom are in Washington DC. One would think a new Commissioner would demand that the agency he heads is scrupulously obeying the law, and has a sterling reputation.


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