“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,” Patrick Howley writes at the Daily Caller:
“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.
Watch the video at the Daily Caller, which features Koskinen delivering the same imperious nose-upward gaze as Lois Lerner and the other two proponents of corporatism and socialism in the Photoshop atop this post. One reason why Koskinen’s testimony strains credulity is that, as Ed Morrissey notes at Hot Air, “Koskinen offered up his opening statement in writing, in part to suggest that e-mail should not be considered an ‘official record’ anyway”:
In discussing document retention at the IRS, it is important to point out that our email system is not being used as an electronic record keeping system. Furthermore, it should be remembered that not all emails on IRS servers or backup tapes qualify as an “official record,” which is defined (in 44 U.S.C. 3301) as any documentary material made or received by an agency under federal law or in connection with the transaction of public business and appropriate for preservation. Accordingly, our agency’s email system is not designed to preserve email. Rather, email that qualifies as “records” are printed and retained in compliance with relevant records control schedules. Individual employees are responsible for ensuring that any email in their possession that qualifies as a “record” is retained in accordance with the requirements in the Internal Revenue Manual and Document 12990 (Record Control Schedules).
“Thanks to one reader on Twitter, we can judge Koskinen’s argument as categorically false,” Ed adds, quoting passages from the IRS manual online at everybody’s favorite URL — IRS.gov — with phrases such as “Email messages are official documents and should reflect this perspective,” and:
The Federal Records Act applies to email records just as it does to records you create using other media. Emails are records when they are:
- Created or received in the transaction of agency business
- Appropriate for preservation as evidence of the government’s function and activities,
Please note that maintaining a copy of an email or its attachments within the IRS email MS Outlook application does not meet the requirements of maintaining an official record. Therefore, print and file email and its attachments if they are either permanent records or if they relate to a specific case.
Much more after the page break.