Republican Rep. Paul Ryan tore into IRS commissioner John Koskinen in a tense exchange at Friday morning’s House Ways and Means Committee hearing on the IRS’s lost emails.
“I am sitting here listening to this testimony. I just – I don’t believe it,” Ryan said, turning to Koskinen. “That’s your problem. Nobody believes you.”
Ryan accused the IRS of misleading Congress by previously claiming that no targeting occurred and then that progressive groups were also targeted by the IRS. “All of those things have been proven untrue,” Ryan said.
“You bury in a 27-page letter to the Senate asking for them to conclude the investigation that you’ve lost Lois Lerner’s emails…Monday, our investigators ask your agency if any other hard drives crashed” and Koskinen finally admitted that six other IRS officials under investigation also had their hard drives crash.
“We told you on Monday,” Koskinen said about the six additional hard drive crashes.
“You told us on Monday because we asked you! We asked you if any other hard drives crashed. This is unbelievable. You told us in May you were going to give us all of Lois Lerner’s emails and you learned in February that this crashed,” Ryan said.
“I’m not asking you a question, I’m making a statement…You can turn [taxpayers’] lives upside down. You ask taxpayers to hand over seven years of their own taxpayer information in case they’re ever audited, and you can’t keep six months of emails?,” Ryan said.
“This is not being forthcoming. This is being misleading again. This is a pattern of abuse, a pattern of behavior that is not giving us any confidence that this agency is being impartial. I don’t believe you. This is incredible,” Ryan said.
“I’ve had a long career. This is the first time anybody has ever said they don’t believe me,” Koskinen shot back.
“I don’t believe you,” Ryan replied.
Democrats butted in calling for regular order and accusing Ryan of “disrupting a hearing.”
“I control the time,” Ryan shot back before eventually concluding his remarks.