House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan of Janesville was among the Republicans who grilled the IRS commissioner Friday morning about missing e-mails surrounding allegations that the nation’s tax agency unfairly investigated tea party groups.
“You can reach into the lives of hardworking taxpayers and with a phone call, an email, or a letter you can turn their lives upside down. You ask taxpayers to hang on to seven years of their personal tax information in case they are ever audited,” he says, “and you can’t keep six months worth of employee emails?”
The IRS recently confirmed it could not produce the e-mails in question because the computer of the central figure in the matter — former agency official Lois Lerner — had crashed. Commissioner
John Koskinen appeared before the House Ways and Means Committee. Ryan told him the agency was not forthcoming with information, showing a pattern of behavior that doesn’t give confidence that the IRS is being impartial.
“I don’t believe you,” Ryan blurted out.
AUDIO: Ryan raises his voice during the exchange with Koskinen. (:22)
Koskinen said it was the first time during his long government career that anyone alleged they didn’t believe him.
AUDIO: Democrat Ron Kind from La Crosse calls Koskinen a “model of integrity, honesty and professionalism.” (:22)
Kind accused Republicans of displaying “fake rage” and conducting another “witch hunt.”