House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said Monday that he would press IRS Commissioner John Koskinen on whether he has been up front with Congress about the IRS targeting scandal.
“We have some serious questions for the commissioner, the biggest one being, ‘You came before us, you said you’d tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth under oath,” Issa said on Fox News Monday. “Do you believe you told the whole truth?”
“And of course the answer is, he did not tell the whole truth.”
Members of the House Ways & Means Committee already pressed Koskinen last week to explain why Congress wasn’t alerted earlier when the IRS discovered more than two years’ worth of emails from Lois Lerner were lost. Koskinen replied that the IRS knew there was a problem in February, but that they wanted more time to figure it out.
On June 13, the IRS finally told Congress that the emails were missing, but did so in a few sentences buried in a 27-page memo. That led to a blistering hearing last week during which Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) asked for an apology — Koskinen declined to give one.
It also led House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to say flatly, “I don’t believe it.”
Issa subpoenaed Koskinen to appear before his own committee today, and Koskinen has agreed to comply with that subpoena. Issa’s hearing starts at 7 p.m. Monday.
On Fox, Issa said he believes the missing emails are part of a coverup in which the government is trying to hide the fact that efforts were made at high levels to apply extra scrutiny to conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status at the IRS.
“I believe Lois Lerner is hiding something,” he said. “I believe the Justice Department, the IRS and the White House are interested in her succeeding in hiding what she’s hiding, which is her targeting of conservative groups based on their ideology in support of the president’s warn on Citizens United.”
Over the weekend, Issa released several pages of questions he wants Koskinen to answer, including several detailed questions about the status and location of Lerner’s hard drive. Officials say her hard drive “crashed” years ago, making it impossible to recover data.
Last week, Koskinen said the hard drive was eventually destroyed and recycled.
Read Issa’s letter to the IRS here: