Koskinen kept a straight face at IRS hearing Monday night
Trey Gowdy, the former prosecutor, was on fire during last night’s hearing of the House Oversight Committee, grilling IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. The video excerpt below displayed his mettle and revealed Koskinen as a loyal apparatchik.
In general, the evening played out according to script. Koskinen continued his feigned demeanor of outrage that anyone would find anything to worry about in the convenient evidence-destroying claimed computer crashes and failure to use backup methods required by law to restore data purportedly lost in the crashes.
Chairman Issa had a notable exchange with Koskinen as the hearing began over his previous assurances that have proven flase (via the UK Daily Mail):
Issa's committee staff prepared a video montage showing a cavalcade of Republicans during a March 26 hearing, demanding that Koskinen provide 'all' Lerner's emails.
'Yes, we will do that,' the IRS commissioner is seen conceding
Issa tried to corner him Monday night, insisting that he 'knew there was a problem with Lois Lerner's emails when you came and testified in March.'
But Koskinen insisted that he had only been told that 'there was an issue that no one knew the ramifications of.'
'Somebody said, "There's an odd development in the way the emails are showing up. We're going to pull all her emails and investigate it",' he said. 'The first time I knew that emails had been lost from her account was in April.'
'All the emails that we have will be provided,' he said moments later. 'I did not say I would provide you emails that disappeared. If you have a magical way for me to do that, I'd be happy to know about it.'
'My time has expired,' Issa interjected while Koskinen continued to speak. 'And I've lost my patience with you.'
Rep. Jason Chaffetz also stood out grilling Koskinen over the failure to employ backup tapes to restore data purportedly lost in Lwrner’s computer:
Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz needled Koskinen about a short-term data backup that the IRS had in place – but never used – when Lerner's hard drive crashed in 2011.
'It's actually a disaster recovery system,' the IRS commissioner testified, 'and it backs up for six months in case the entire system goes down ... That was the rule in 2011. Policy.'
Chaffetz wanted to know, 'Why didn't they just go to that six-month tape?'
Koskinen replied that it is 'a disaster recovery tape that has all of the emails on it, and is a very complicated tape to actually extract emails [from], but I have not seen any emails to explain why they didn't do it. So I – It would be difficult, but I don't know why they didn't do it.'
'But you said that the IRS was going to extraordinary lengths to give it to the recovery team, correct?' Chaffetz quizzed.
'That's correct,' said Koskinen.
'But it's backed up – on tape?'
'For six months, yes.'
'So,' Chaffetz asked, 'why didn't you get them off the backup?'
'All I know about that is that the backup tapes are disaster recovery tapes that put everything in one lump,' Koskinen replied, 'and extracting individual emails out of that is very costly and difficult, and it was not the policy at the time.'
'Did anybody try?' Chaffetz asked the IRS commissioner.
'I have no idea or indication that they did,' came his answer.
It is becoming clear that the Obama administration’s strategy for the IRS scandal is to:
- pretend to cooperate with investigators;
- pretend that questions about “lost” emails pertinent to the investigation are impertinent and paranoid conspiracy-theorizing;
- rely on elected Democrats to characterize further inquiries as impolite and wasteful;
- rely on the mainstream media to pretend that there is no story here, or that the only story is the unreasonableness of asking further questions regarding corruption in a situation where the key witness has taken the Fifth Amendment.
There will be a follow-up hearing today by the same committee. Members should grill Koskinen on his history of making large donations to Democrats, and make the point that this history defines him as a partisan. The Washington Free Beacon reports:
Koskinen has been a reliable donor over the years, contributing a total of $19,000 to the Democratic National Committee from 1988 to 2008. He has made a contribution to the Democratic candidate for president in each election since 1980, including $2,300 to Obama in 2008, and $5000 toObama in 2012.
Koskinen’s most recent contribution was $2,500 to Sen. Mark Warner (D., Va.) in February of 2013.
The Democrats’ survival strategy now depends entirely on their media friends and a public that remains unaware of the increasingly ridiculous story peddled by Koskinen. Lois Lerner's Fifth Amendment plea is the solvent that cuts through the oily excuses and straight face being offered.