GOP challenges IRS chief's testimony

Greg Nash

A top House Republican is challenging the IRS commissioner’s assertions that he doesn’t know whether the agency lost any official records when Lois Lerner’s hard drive crashed in 2011.

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Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) asked the commissioner, John Koskinen, on Wednesday if he wanted to “amend” his recent testimony on the agency’s inability to recover all of Lerner’s emails from 2009 to the middle of 2011.

That request comes after Lerner’s lawyer, Bill Taylor of Zuckerman Spaeder, cast some doubt on his client’s record of printing and saving official documents, as required by IRS rules.

Issa and other Republicans on the Oversight Committee have made the case that the lost emails mean the IRS broke the Federal Records Act, which gives agencies guidelines for keeping official documents safe.

The head of the National Archives said last week the IRS didn’t follow the law by not informing them of the lost emails.

Issa said Wednesday that the statements from Koskinen and Taylor “raise concerns that Ms. Lerner and the IRS are not being truthful about her lost emails and violations of federal law.”

Koskinen said during a June 23 Oversight Committee hearing that he didn’t know whether any of Lerner’s missing emails were an official record and that his agency had handed over her printed emails to congressional investigators. The IRS didn’t respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

Taylor told Politico last week Lerner didn’t know that she was supposed to print out official records. But over the weekend, he told CNN that Lerner “printed out a lot of things” when pressed about her record keeping.

Taylor declined to clarify those comments when reached by email on Wednesday, saying only that he didn’t know what the IRS had in its collection of Lerner's documents.

Issa’s letter comes just days after he and Taylor sparred in separate TV interviews, with the Oversight chairman saying Lerner’s lawyer had “outright lied” during the investigation. Taylor accused Issa of using Lerner to play election-year politics.