During an extraordinary exchange between Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and IRS Commissioner John Koskinen today, the Congressman asserted that the IRS’s explanation for Lois Lerner’s lost emails was unbelievable.
Demanding an apology to the American taxpayers, Ryan asserted the IRS had abused its power, before suggesting that Koskinen was lying about the circumstances behind the IRS’ claim that Lois Lerner’s emails were lost as a result of hard drive crashes.
“I don’t believe it, that’s your problem, nobody believes you,” said Ryan, adding that everything the IRS has claimed about the scandal has since proven untrue and that the agency had hidden the hard drive crash until asked about it by lawmakers on Monday.
Things then began to get testy as Ryan asked why the IRS had promised to turn over the emails before trotting out the “hard drive crash” explanation.
“You are the Internal Revenue Service, you can reach into the lives of hard working taxpayers and with a phone call, an email or a letter you can turn their lives upside down. You ask taxpayers to have seven years of their personal tax information in case they’re ever audited and you can’t keep six months worth of employee emails,” charged Ryan.
When Koskinen began reeling off a list of excuses Ryan interrupted him, prompting Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) to state, “Will you let him answer the question,” to which Ryan snapped back, “I didn’t ask him a question!” The disruption costs Ryan at least a minute of his allotted time.
In another clip, there is an audible gasp as Koskinen claims that the hard drives were trashed and recycled.
The controversy surrounding the lost emails is a continuation of a scandal which began last year when it emerged that conservative groups applying for tax exempt status were being unfairly scrutinized by the IRS based on their names or political themes.