Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan took IRS commissioner John Koskinen to task over the agency's claim that hundreds of emails sent by IRS officials were lost. The emails were requested in an investigation into the IRS's improper treatment of conservative tax-exempt groups in the run-up to the 2012 election.
"This is unbelievable," said Ryan, a Republican, at a Friday hearing. "The apology that ought to be given is to the American taxpayer, not to a government agency that is abusing its power. I am sitting here listening to this testimony, I don’t believe it. That’s your problem. Nobody believes you."
“You are the Internal Revenue Service,” Ryan added. “You can reach into the lives of hard-working taxpayers and with a phone call, an e-mail or a letter you can turn their lives upside down. You ask taxpayers to hang onto seven years of their personal tax information in case they are ever audited and you can’t keep six months worth of employee e-mails? And now that we are seeing this investigation, you don’t have the e-mails, hard drives crashed. You learned about this months ago. You just told us, and we had to ask you on Monday.”
Koskinen disputed the claim that the committee had just learned of the hard-drive crash, but he later acknowledged upon further questioning from Chairman Dave Camp that the committee did just learn that the emails were not backed up on the server and therefore allegedly lost forever.