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It's easy to get the IRS to apologize for its unjustified seizure of assets…just ask three times

Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen testifies before the House Oversight Committee as lawmakers continue their probe of whether tea party groups were improperly targeted for increased scrutiny by the IRS, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, June 23, 2014. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) found out Wednesday exactly what it takes to get the IRS to say it's sorry.

Roskam was questioning IRS Commissioner John Koskinen about the IRS's seizure of property from non-criminals. The issue is one that has affected hundreds of people who have been targeted as potential criminals because they deposit money in the bank in increments of less than $10,000, a tactic some criminals use to dodge reporting requirements.

Wednesday's House hearing included several non-criminals who had their assets seized by the IRS, and asked Koskinen if he would apologize to them.

"Would you be willing to apologize to these people on behalf of the IRS?" he asked.

Koskinen replied that he's not allowed to talk about specific cases, and said he regrets that some people have had their assets seized improperly. Roskam then pressed again for an apology.

"The IRS grabbed these taxpayers by their throat and squeezed them, and squeezed them, and squeezed them without mercy, and nearly ruined them and made their lives miserable," he said. "Would you be willing today on behalf of the IRS to apologize to those taxpayers who were so abused?"

Koskinen admitted that people who are unfairly caught up in the wrong end of an asset seizure operation "deserve an apology."

"And would that apology come today from you, the commissioner of the IRS, to them?" Roskam asked.

"I would apologize for anyone not just in this area — anyone who is not treated fairly under the code, I apologize to you," he finally said.

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