Patterico's Pontifications

6/20/2014

No Apologies From IRS Commissioner

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:33 am

[guest post by Dana]

UPDATE: I’ve added the video clip of Rep. Paul Ryan’s push back.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen went before the House Ways and Means Committee this morning and said that he does not believe he owes an apology for the loss of Lois Lerner’s emails nor for the delay in notifying Congress of the missing emails, claiming he first wanted to know just the how far-reaching the situation was.

“I don’t think an apology is owed. Not a single email has been lost since the start of this investigation.

There was push back:

“Nobody believes you,” Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP’s 2012 vice presidential nominee, told Mr. Koskinen, questioning how an agency as powerful as the IRS could not have the capacity to store all emails. “You ask taxpayers to hang onto seven years of their personal taxpayer info in case they’re ever audited, and you can’t keep more than six months of employees’ emails?”

Mr. Koskinen claimed the hard drive was “recycled and destroyed”. And then he blamed the loss of emails on IRS underfunding:

He said they have turned over about 30,000 emails, including 25,000 from Ms. Lerner’s account and another 5,000 recovered from some of those other IRS employees. Still to come are more than 30,000 more emails, including nearly 20,000 that were lost on Ms. Lerner’s hard drive but were gleaned from other employees’ accounts.

In the process of the investigation, Mr. Koskinen said they found seven other employees’ hard drives had also crashed — though he said it’s unclear right now whether emails were lost in those crashes.

He said the spate of crashes is to be expected given “the agency’s aging information-technology infrastructure,” which he blamed on a lack of funds.

–Dana

40 Responses to “No Apologies From IRS Commissioner”

  1. unexpectedly.

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  2. “Underfunded”

    Meh. This can be fixed easily. Start firing people in the IT department until they find a way to establish a modern backup facility with the money they have. Just the electricity alone needed to operate the ridiculously antiquated equipment should cover the costs.

    Not that this is the real reason. The IRS WANTS to be able to deep-six inconvenient documents for the same reason Exxon would like the same ability. So they have this information shredder they call “backup”.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  3. They could probably also raise money by selling tours to college CS departments. Kind of a “History of Computing” exhibit. Some of those kids have never seen a tape drive or removable disk pack.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  4. Criminal charges and jail time.

    Jack (a742cc)

  5. I would be more than happy to just suffer the IRS targeting of groups without criminal prosecution if they would get rid of the IRS altogether as a result of this investigation.

    That’s compromising.

    DejectedHead (a094a6)

  6. If you don’t have enough money, you have to recycle your hard drives every 6 months.

    Huh??

    CrustyB (69f730)

  7. Obviously has his marching orders. These people don’t seem to understand or care that this REAL scandal has the REAL potential to severely hinder The People’s willingness to comply with the tax laws and impact the collection of tax revenue. No respect and outright contempt for the law or ethics tends to breed a like-minded response.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  8. Well, they all know they are in trouble. If they toe the administration line they can avoid jail time because Obama can give them pardons on the way out.

    DejectedHead (a094a6)

  9. Start firing people in the IT department until they find a way to establish a modern backup facility with the money they have.

    I’d start targeting suits in middle management and higher in any department. Eliminating any one of them frees up a lot more money and the message is delivered with a lot more clarity.

    Blacque Jacques Shellacque (9940a5)

  10. I’d start targeting suits in middle management

    Whatever, so long as it involves firing people.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  11. I want to see the contemporaneous work orders for swapping out, testing, and destroying those drives. I want to see some kind of dated hard evidence/paper trail that drive model X, make Y, serial number Z was pulled, tested, erased and discarded. I want the technicians subpoenaed.

    This excuse stinks to high heaven, and I wish there was an honest investigative reporter left in this country, who would dig into this with the same zeal that the press dug into Watergate. Like Henninger wrote, this scandal is bigger than Watergate: back then, it was political operatives attacking other operatives. In this scandal, it was political operative attacking ordinary citizens.

    This lie is so brazen, and the liars are responding so contemptuously to questions, you _know_ they’re protecting somebody with BIG clout. I’m guessing it’s Valerie Jarrett.

    gp (5a38d9)

  12. Is it only me or do you guys perceive the entire IRS is thumbing their collective noses at us? They are basically saying “screw you and what ya gonna do about it?”. It seems every bureaucratic agency is doing the same thing too. It’s like Jerry Springer out there. “I’ll do what I want!”

    This is absolutely the worst administration in the history of the Republic. The boarder, Benghazi, IRS, UE, bail outs, Middle East, Iraq, crony Solyndras, monetary policy, Obamacare I could go on. The only thing they care about is abortion, gay marriage, bringing in undocumented Democrats and of course, The Redskins. You could throw in besmirching anyone who believes in traditional marriage, guns or God (unless it’s Allah, then it’s okay).

    Hoagie (4dfb34)

  13. So this Koskinen jackass was at the helm during the housing meltdown and he’s now presiding over the IRS debacle. He seems to be the right man for the job!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Koskinen

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  14. Maybe he didn’t find out about it until he read it in the newspaper.

    Jim (145e10)

  15. Don’t let the Represenatives get distracted over the hard drives. The missing Emails are on servers and can be located. The “hard drive” angle is to confuse legislators & journalists and the uninformed public. Just because I delete my Emails does not mean that they are completely gone – they remain on one or more servers.

    Michael M. Keohane (27a5a1)

  16. The Senate GOP tried very hard to block this nomination, but only had 39 votes when it came to cloture. Not that it would have mattered, the world is full of willing tools.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  17. they remain on one or more servers.

    The IRS is maintaining that this is not the case, that their servers are so limited in capacity that employees have to choose which emails to keep. Further, they assert their tape(!) backups are erased after 6 months to allow for reuse of the tapes.

    If so, it would seem like nearly every case the IRS has going could be dismissed with prejudice, if the defendant can plausibly claim evidence has been destroyed.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  18. When I heard Rep. Paul Ryan chastising Koskinen, I was a little bit perplexed at his, “Well you buried the fact that Lois Lerner’s emails had been lost” statement. How many times do we have to hear Congress admit that they hadn’t read the entire letter, bill, etc., before we say “enough”!

    If you’re going to criticize Nancy Pelosi for her “we have to pass it to find out what’s in it” nonsense with regard to the ACA legislation, shouldn’t you read the pertinent material provided by an agency you’re accusing of misconduct(possibly illegal) during a congressional investigation?

    How many here would retain their job if you said that regarding a company inquiry? I’ve been in purchasing for over two decades, and my superiors would be terminating my @$$ if I claimed that a vendor “buried” a “f#ck you” clause in a contract that I failed to read.

    Hadoop (7fc17e)

  19. DejectedHead (a094a6) — 6/20/2014 @ 10:22 am

    If they toe the administration line they can avoid jail time because Obama can give them pardons on the way out.

    I don’t know about that – nobody can count on that – but a problem may be who is paying for their lawyers.

    The paymenst for their lawyers may depend upon an assertion of innocence.

    Congress, or the committee(s) should fix that so that Lois Lerner, for instance, doesn’t lose her lawyer if she negotiates a grant of immunity.

    Sammy Finkelman (966b43)

  20. Kevin M (b357ee) — 6/20/2014 @ 12:18 pm

    The IRS is maintaining that…their servers are so limited in capacity that employees have to choose which emails to keep.

    And that it would cost $10 million to change the system. An argument can be made that their employees time is worth more than that, but that doesn’t show up in a budget.

    Further, they assert their tape(!) backups are erased after 6 months to allow for reuse of the tapes.

    No, they used to do that until May, 2013, when this investigation started – since then they have not been recycling the daily backup tapes, but they don’t seem to be committed to never doing that again.

    It has been pointed out (by Megan McArdle of Bloomberg View) that they don’t need to save every back-up tape, they culd put one tape a week, or one tape a month or even every three months, out of the rotation, and they’d have most of the e-mail.

    If they actually wanted to preserve the e-mail, instead of doing the least they could to comply with the law.

    http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2014-06-17/missing-e-mail-is-the-least-of-the-irs-s-problems

    Sammy Finkelman (966b43)

  21. If they toe the administration line they can avoid jail time because Obama can give them pardons on the way out.

    If Nixon had pardoned everyone, he would never have gotten one himself. And he would have had a bunch of people who had no way not to testify, sine they could not incriminate themselves, save through perjury. A smart king leaves plenty of folks for the rabble to hang.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  22. When I heard Rep. Paul Ryan chastising Koskinen, I was a little bit perplexed at his, “Well you buried the fact that Lois Lerner’s emails had been lost” statement. How many times do we have to hear Congress admit that they hadn’t read the entire letter, bill, etc., before we say “enough”!

    Huh? The fact that 2 years of emails from Lerner were missing was buried on the last page of this excerpt from the letter to congress and Congress critters did read the entire incredibly boring letter (which had two other enclosures) to discover the fact. As an afterthought to the enclosure titled “Description of IRS Email Collection and Production” is hidden the bombshell that there are years of missing emails. The letter was delivered late Friday afternoon and by Saturday morning Ryan etc were trumpeting the missing emails from the rooftops. Apparently the White House knew about the missing emails months ago and they seem to have told some congress critters with Ds after their names, however last Friday was the first R congress critters had been told that the IRS lost years of Lerner’s emails.

    max (4fdf98)

  23. max (4fdf98) — 6/20/2014 @ 1:37 pm

    I thought I read they received the letter in April. My bad. Rep Ryan has a right to be mad. He has a right to be mad anyway, but why bother mentioning where the disclosure was in the document—that’s why I said I was perplexed. The timing would be the thing to focus on, not where the lost emails were mentioned.

    Hadoop (7fc17e)

  24. which he blamed on a lack of funds.

    A watchdog report released Tuesday includes potentially embarrassing examples of spending at conferences, including $17,000 paid to a keynote speaker whose specialty was painting unique pictures. He produced images of Michael Jordan, Bono, Albert Einstein and Abraham Lincoln at the IRS event.

    Agency employees received hotel upgrades and a deputy commissioner spent five nights in a two-bedroom presidential suite at the Anaheim, Calif., Hilton.

    And, of course, the IRS spent about $50,000 producing parodies of “Star Trek.”

    In total, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that the IRS spent about $49 million on conferences between 2010 and 2012.

    It’s a dollar figure that has shocked many in Washington. – politico.com, 06/04/13

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  25. 22. max (4fdf98) — 6/20/2014 @ 1:37 pm

    The letter was delivered late Friday afternoon and by Saturday morning Ryan etc were trumpeting the missing emails from the rooftops.

    No, I think it was delivered Friday morning. Anyway, not late afternoon.

    The press release from the House Ways and Means comittee was dated Friday, June 13:

    http://waysandmeans.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=384506

    Patterico had a post on it at 2:45 Pacifric t8ime (5:45 pm eastern time)

    http://patterico.com/2014/06/13/irs-claims-to-have-lost-2-years-worth-of-lerner-emails/#comments

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  26. “Washington is a fist, and the IRS is its middle finger.”

    - Iowahawk

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  27. Hadoop (7fc17e) — 6/20/2014 @ 1:53 pm

    I thought I read they received the letter in April. My bad.

    A Democratic staffer made the claim to the New York Times that Issa was feigning surprise bebecause he had been informed before, but in any case this was different committee.

    Rep Ryan has a right to be mad. He has a right to be mad anyway, but why bother mentioning where the disclosure was in the document—that’s why I said I was perplexed. The timing would be the thing to focus on, not where the lost emails were mentioned.

    They didn’t call attention to it. It could have bene missed, at least for awhile.

    They also lost the Outlook calendar informtion from before 2012 in an upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7. (That’s in Footnote 2 in the August 29, 2013 letter to Senator Orrin Hatch.)

    Sammy Finkelman (966b43)

  28. Time for a serious budget cutback at the IRS.
    Zero out the T&E line;
    No funds for BarryCare enforcement;
    Only sub-compact cars available from GSA;
    No Free Parking;
    No Free Coffee;
    No Free newspapers;
    Mandatory settings for heating (66°) and cooling (78°) to ‘conserve energy’;
    A 15% reduction in personnel costs – overtime not allowed!

    That should be a Good Start.

    askeptic (8ecc78)

  29. good thinking Mr. skeptic we all have to help fight the global warmings and the IRS flunkies have been heat-raping the erf for too long and getting away with it

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  30. According to the IRS budget, they have over $1.8 billion for Information Services. “Underfunded”, indeed.

    navyvet (a01c0f)

  31. Since they do such a dismal job of providing information to those who seek it, that $1.8B should be returned to the General Account at the Treasury, and the office RIF’d to Zero.

    askeptic (8ecc78)

  32. This is what fundamental transformation looks like.

    AZ Bob (533fbc)

  33. All emails are stored on a central MS Exchange (or whatever kind of email software they use) server, and those are then backed up to tape. The individual employee machines are not where they’re permanently stored, and the loss of any of those machines doesn’t lose any emails. Anyone with an elementary knowledge of IT knows this.

    Gerald A (9e3e6a)

  34. sturdy oak branch for this liar.

    mg (f9d85c)

  35. According to the IRS budget, they have over $1.8 billion for Information Services. “Underfunded”, indeed.

    navyvet (a01c0f) — 6/20/2014 @ 5:28 pm

    And they have another $330 million for “modernization”. On the other hand, look at how much they spent on the Obamacare website. As incompetent as the government is, maybe $1.8 billion (which is over $20,000 per employee) really isn’t enough money. /sarc

    Tanny O'Haley (137712)

  36. This was the guy whose reputation for integrity was suppose to be unquestionable. Even if you buy that Lois Lerner’s hard drive crashed, wouldn’t you be the least bit skeptical when all the other individuals under congressional investigation also had the exact type of hard drive crashes where the data is unrecoverable?

    Hadoop (f7d5ba)

  37. Were is our Mark Felt? Who are our Woodward and Bernstein?

    dtih (95b94a)


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