Rep. Paul Ryan to IRS Commissioner: 'Nobody believes you'

Congressional committee hearings are usually an occassion to catch up on your sleep. But the hearing yesterday that featured the IRS Commissioner John Koskinen arrogantly refusing to apologize for losing Lois Lerner's emails lit up the screen and raised the temperature in the room several degrees.

After a Democratic congressmen complained that Koskinen was being grilled unfairly, Rep. Paul Ryan gave a devastating statement summing up all the lies told by the IRS, and pointed out in simple terms, "Nobody believes you."

An editorial from the New York Sun:

Mr. Ryan’s ire was triggered by the suggestion of one of the Democrats that Mr. Koskinen was owed an apology for the tough grilling he was receiving from the committee. “The apology that ought to be given,” Mr. Ryan responded, “is to the American taxpayer.” Then he said: “Sitting here listening to this testimony, I don’t believe it.” He paused. “That’s your problem,” he said with a nod to the commissioner. “Nobody believes you.”

Mr. Ryan then reviews the failure of the IRS to be forthcoming — its burying of bad news in its communications with Congress, its tardiness in responding to requests for information — culminating in the discovery that not only are key Lerner emails are missing but that the hard drive has not only crashed, but has been destroyed, and thate six other hard drives are involved. With each syllable, Mr. Koskinen seems to miss the essential point.

“You are the Internal Revenues Service,” Mr. Paul says. “You can reach into the lives of hardworking taxpayers. And with a phone call, an email or letter you can turn their lives upside town. You ask taxpayers to hang onto seven years of their personal tax information in case they are ever audited, and you can’t keep six months of employee emails.”

Ryan saved Koskinen from having to defend the indefensible by dismissing his responses with "I don't believe you."

The Sun points out the hypocrisy and arrogance of the Commissioner:

At one point the commissioner said “I have a long career, that’s the first time someone has said they do not believe me.” He seems oblivious to what is happening. The House of Representatives may be in the hands of the Republicans. But it is a house of Congress. It senses both dishonesty and arrogance on the part of the tax arm of the government. We don’t have votes of confidence under the American system. But the IRS has lost it, a fact that is animating a scandal that goes to the heart of the democratic process and is likely to consume much of the rest of the Mr. Obama’s presidency.

In a related development, Rep. Steve Stockman has introduced a bill to allow taxpayers to use "the same lame excuses" for not keeping tax records as the IRS.

“The United States was founded on the belief government is subservient and accountable to the people.  Taxpayers shouldn’t be expected to follow laws the Obama administration refuses to follow themselves,” said Stockman.  “Taxpayers should be allowed to offer the same flimsy, obviously made-up excuses the Obama administration uses.”

Under Stockman’s bill, “The Dog Ate My Tax Receipts Act,” taxpayers who do not provide documents requested by the IRS can claim one of the following reasons:

1.         The dog ate my tax receipts
2.         Convenient, unexplained, miscellaneous computer malfunction
3.         Traded documents for five terrorists
4.         Burned for warmth while lost in the Yukon
5.         Left on table in Hillary’s Book Room
6.         Received water damage in the trunk of Ted Kennedy’s car
7.         Forgot in gun case sold to Mexican drug lords
8.         Forced to recycle by municipal Green Czar
9.         Was short on toilet paper while camping
10.       At this point, what difference does it make?