Republicans Demand Answers From IRS on Missing E-MailsRichard Rubin
Congressional Republicans are seeking answers from the Internal Revenue Service, which has lost more than two years’ worth of e-mails requested by lawmakers.
The e-mails belonged to Lois Lerner, who was the director of exempt organizations during the period when the IRS gave extra scrutiny to some Tea Party groups seeking tax-exempt status.
The leaders of two congressional committees are seeking testimony next week from IRS Commissioner John Koskinen to explain why the e-mails can’t be produced and why he didn’t tell lawmakers sooner about a computer crash.
“I will not tolerate your continued obstruction and game-playing in response to the committee’s investigation of the IRS targeting,” Representative Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, wrote in a letter today to Koskinen. It was attached to a subpoena for the commissioner to appear on June 23.
“Despite your empty promises and broken commitments to cooperation, the IRS still insists on flouting constitutional congressional oversight.”
The IRS told lawmakers last week that a computer crash destroyed some of Lerner’s e-mails between January 2009 and April 2011. At least four congressional committees have been investigating the IRS for more than a year.
None has issued a final report and Republicans have clashed repeatedly with the agency over the pace of document production.
Koskinen is scheduled to testify on June 24 before the House Ways and Means Committee, which today requested documents from the White House and other federal agencies related to the IRS probe.
Lerner was placed on administrative leave last year after the IRS’s actions became public, and she later retired.
The House voted on May 7 to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify after she declared her innocence.
The Ways and Means Committee voted on April 9 to recommend that Lerner be prosecuted for violating taxpayers’ rights. Lerner hasn’t been charged with a crime.