Paul Ryan Calls IRS Chief a Liar in Heated Exchange

John Koskinen refuses to apologize for lost emails

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 20, 2014 6:14 PM CDT

(Newser) – Things got seriously testy on Capitol Hill today as IRS chief John Koskinen got grilled about the agency's missing emails by Republicans on the House Ways and Means panel. When committee chairman Dave Camp demanded an apology, Koskinen refused, reports Politico. "I don't think an apology is owed." And when Koskinen told the panel that the crashed hard drive of former IRS official Lois Lerner—who led the department accused of going after conservative groups unfairly—had been "recycled and destroyed," gasps were heard among the Republicans, reports the Hill. But it was Paul Ryan who went furthest as he accused Koskinen of lying.

A sample of the dialogue, as gathered by the New York Times:

  • Ryan: "Sitting here listening to this testimony, I don’t believe it. That’s your problem. No one believes you.”
  • Ryan: “You don’t have the emails. Hard drives crashed. You learned about this months ago. You just told us. And we had to ask you on Monday. This is not being forthcoming. This is being misleading again. This is a pattern of abuse.”
  • Koskinen: In his "long career," he said, "that is the first time anybody has said they do not believe me."
  • Ryan: "I don't believe you."
  • Democrat Sander Levin: "Will you let him answer the question?" he said after several interruptions.
  • Ryan: "I didn't ask him a question."
  • Levin: "Yes you did."

Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday.
Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen faces the House Ways and Means panel.
Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen faces the House Ways and Means panel.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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