Hatch: IRS nominee has 'great many questions' to answer

Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) vowed this week to move Koskinen’s nomination quickly, even though he has yet to schedule a hearing. The panel received Koskinen’s nomination paperwork late in August, several weeks after Obama announced his pick.

ADVERTISEMENT
Koskinen has crafted a reputation as a turnaround artist, after a stint as an executive at Freddie Mac and more than two decades in the private-sector.

A former Office of Management and Budget official, Koskinen has little tax administration experience, but that has not caused much concern among senators.

The nominee would be taking over an agency that apologized this May for giving extra scrutiny to Tea Party groups. Danny Werfel took over as interim leader of the agency shortly thereafter, and overhauled the IRS brass.

House Republicans have said they’re going to continue ramping up their investigation – with the Ways and Means panel releasing e-mails on Thursday from Lois Lerner, the IRS official now on leave who was at the center of the controversy.

Baucus and Hatch are running their own bipartisan investigation into the targeting, which they have kept mostly under wraps so far. Other Democratic lawmakers have stressed that there’s no evidence of political motivation in the targeting.

In his Thursday statement, Hatch also said he was worried about the IRS’s role in implementing the president’s healthcare overhaul, saying that he doesn’t think the agency can ensure that the subsidies in the law only go to the right people.

“Right now, they have a trust, but don’t verify system in place, which simply isn’t enough.”

Hatch said he also talked up the need for tax reform, and waste in refundable tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit. Audits have found that billions of dollars in refundable credits went to illegal immigrants.