WASHINGTON (AP) — A defiant head of the IRS is refusing to apologize for lost emails that might shed light on the tax agency's targeting of tea party and other groups.
Commissioner John Koskinen testified today before the House Ways and Means Committee, at one point accusing its chairman, Dave Camp, of misleading the public by making false statements based on incomplete information.
The contentious back-and-forth didn't end there. Later in the hearing, Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republicans' vice presidential candidate two years ago, told Koskinen bluntly that "nobody believes you."
Koskinen was called to testify a week after the IRS disclosed that it had lost an untold number of emails to and from Lois Lerner. Lerner headed the division that processes applications for tax-exempt status during a time when, the IRS has acknowledged, agents improperly scrutinized applications from tea party and other conservative groups. The IRS says it lost Lerner's emails when her computer crashed in June 2011.
The IRS commissioner dismissed Camp's call for a special prosecutor to investigate, saying it would be "a monumental waste of taxpayer funds."
201-a-14-(Josh Earnest, deputy White House press secretary, at news conference)-"support Republican claims"-Deputy White House press secretary Josh Earnest says Republicans are frustrated because their "conspiracy theories" about IRS targeting of conservative groups are coming up empty. (20 Jun 2014)
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144-a-09-(Representative Dave Camp, R-Mich., chairman, House Ways and Means Committee and IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, during committee hearing)-"welcome to them"-House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp says he'd like the identifying numbers from the hard drives in question. (20 Jun 2014)
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141-a-18-(IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, testifying before House Ways and Means Committee)-"tried their best"-IRS Commissioner John Koskinen says multiple efforts to retrieve the data from the hard drive failed. (20 Jun 2014)
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139-a-11-(Representative Dave Camp, R-Mich., chairman, House Ways and Means Committee, during hearing)-"to this investigation"-House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp says it's troubling that key emails related to the targeting of tea party groups cannot be found. (20 Jun 2014)
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140-a-13-(Representative Paul Ryan, R-Wis. and IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, during House Ways and Means committee hearing)-"on our record"-Congressman Pasul Ryan says the IRS commissioner's explanation about the hard drive doesn't hold water. (20 Jun 2014)
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APPHOTO DCSA106: Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, June 20, 2014, before the House Ways and Means Committee as they continue probe of whether tea party groups were improperly targeted for increased scrutiny by the IRS. The IRS asserts it can't produce emails from seven officials connected to the tea party investigation because of computer crashes, including the emails from Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of the investigation who has invoked her Fifth Amendment right at least nine times to avoid answering lawmakers' questions. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (20 Jun 2014)
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