Apparently none of the Republicans in Congress have figured this out by now. IRS chief John Koskinen was not brought into the agency to clean anything up or get to any level of truth about its targeting scandal. He was brought in to be a loyalist who will deflect blame and run out the clock.
That’s what he did during Monday night’s hearing on the scandal in the House Oversight Committee.
Koskinen blamed the loss of Lois Lerner’s emails on budget cuts, on the demands placed on the agency by Obamacare, anything but the obvious — the emails were destroyed to remove evidence of the scandal.
The IRS just finished, in 2013, a 15-year multi-billion dollar computer systems upgrade. But Koskinen claims that the agency — America’s government cash collector — doesn’t have the money to upgrade its servers. Even though it has a $1.8 billion budget for IT infrastructure.
Mr. Koskinen is doing exactly what President Obama wants him to do. Stonewall. Blame Congress. Run out the clock.
It’s great fun watching Rep. Trey Gowdy light into Koskinen. But ultimately it’s pointless. Koskinen isn’t in any jeopardy, because he wasn’t at the IRS when the targeting occurred. He’s there now to be a thorn in Congress’ side, to rely on “common sense” and claim that there’s no evidence of criminal wrongdoing in the scandal when he admits that he hasn’t even reviewed any relevant criminal law.
Koskinen isn’t at the IRS to look into any potential criminal wrongdoing. He is a human shield.
Lois Lerner has pleaded the Fifth and retired. Sarah Hall Ingram has retired. The IRS chief who presided over the years of targeting has been replaced by John Koskinen, put there by the president who first said the scandal outraged him, but now says there is not even a smidgen of corruption. The Democrats on the investigating committees abuse their time to defend the IRS.
Lerner’s emails went down the memory hole just 10 days after she first learned that Congress might be on her trail. The IRS canceled its contract with its email backup company shortly thereafter, without explanantion.
Congressional hearings make for mediocre TV and a poor vehicle for investigating the targeting of conservatives by our own government. It will take a special prosecutor who will go below the level of IRS chief and get to the people who were around when Lerner’s emails were supposedly lost, and who will depose them, look through contracts, find the inconsistencies and build a case. All the rest is show.