Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 13, 2016

Issa, Cummings Clash Anew Over IRS Loss of Emails (Video)

Darrell Issa

Democrats spent much of Monday’s IRS hearing criticizing Issa’s handling of the proceedings. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee went after IRS Commissioner John Koskinen again Monday, while Democrats on the panel reserved much of their ire for Chairman Darrell Issa.

Issa, involved in a high-profile clash earlier this year with Elijah Cummings, the senior Democrat on the panel, was criticized repeatedly during Monday’s hearing by Democrats who dismissed the proceeding as election-year posturing.

At one point, the California Republican warned Democrats that House rules forbid members from questioning the integrity or motives of other members — touching off a heated protest from Rep. Steven Horsford. The Nevada Democrat angrily contrasted Issa’s admonition Monday with the March 5 incident, in which Cummings’ microphone was turned off mid-statement on Issa’s orders.

Issa repeatedly cut Horsford off, insisting the lawmaker “state a point of parliamentary inquiry,” until Cummings broke in and asked the chairman to “Let him ask the question.”

“I will not,” Issa said.

The contentious exchange between the two African-American congressmen and Issa, who is white, was reminiscent of the hearing in March, which was also on the IRS and the agency’s targeting of conservative political groups. After that incident, the Congressional Black Caucus asked the House to condemn Issa and asked Speaker John A. Boehner to strip Issa of his chairmanship, though no action was taken.

Other Democrats, including Jackie Speier of California, John F. Tierney of Massachusetts and D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, decried Issa’s handling of the proceedings and the panel’s treatment of Koskinen.

Speier threatened to walk out of the hearing over what she called “badgering” of Koskinen, a former Clinton and Bush administration official who came out of retirement last year to lead the Obama administration’s effort to clean up the tax agency in the wake of the targeting scandal.

But Republicans have accused Koskinen and the IRS of being less than forthcoming with information about the targeting of conservative political groups and during Monday’s hearing repeatedly hammered Koskinen, 74, over the lost emails of Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of the investigation.

Koskinen notified Congress last week that some of the Lerner emails subpoenaed by Issa may be irretrievable because the former official’s computer crashed in 2011 and was discarded and recycled, per normal IRS procedures.

Former prosecutor Trey Gowdy, the South Carolina Republican who has also been named to head the House special committee looking into the 2012 terror attack in Benghazi, Libya, relentlessly questioned whether the IRS had mishandled or destroyed evidence in what potentially could be a criminal case.

“How would you know what elements of the crime existed?” he demanded of Koskinen, “You don’t even know what statutes are in play. You don’t have any idea.”

Koskinen, unflappable through most of the more than three hours of questioning, seemed flustered by Gowdy, even acknowledging at one point that Gowdy had “a good argument” that the White House had inserted politics into the IRS investigation.

Monday’s hearing came three days after Koskinen was put through a similar wringer by the House Ways and Means Committee, where Rep. Paul D. Ryan told the commissioner: “Nobody believes you.” 

The hearing recessed at about 11 p.m. and is set to resume Tuesday morning. 

  • Jack Everett

    Electing a scum bag like Issa shows how out of touch the wing nuts are. It’s the job of the IRS to investigate nonprofits. Why doesn’t this fascist Issa prosecute the wing nut rep from Alaska that just got caught by his own party stealing $60,000 for his own personal use? Whenever someone challenges this pig Issa their mike gets turned off lol. To bad these fascist pigs don’t put this energy and wasted money into helping our unemployed.

    • lj

      Correction,The Democrats shut the government down with their no compromise attitude. They were calling for the same thing the Republicans wanted only one month after the Republicans supposidely caused the shutdown. It only takes common sense to figure out who the real culprits were. If more Americans thought for themselves instead of turning on MSM to get their opinion handed to them they would be able to think through what happened and why. Republicans wanted to delay the mandate,that’s all and the Democrats wouldn’t do it. Then Obama himself did it.That shows who really shutdown the government. The Petty Make it hurt Policy was another FU to Americans when they Kicked the Veterans out of their Memorial, but allowed the illegals to protest on the Mall. Pelosi even thanked Obama for it. So don’t go propagating BS propaganda, get some facts first.

    • Don Miller

      Fascist? I keep forgetting who anyone disagrees with a Leftist, Communist or Socialist is a fascist, homophobe, sexist and bigot. Thanks so much for the tired, mindless clichés.

  • Nov-cubed

    Dimms have doubled down on obstruction. Protecting a jack boot on the throat of the The People, is going to cost them big time. The People MAY not vote Republican; they WILL NOT vote Dimm.

  • RRockstar

    Issa is wasting so much money on these “investigations.” I wish we could send him a bill for all of this and send the money to the VA Hospitals.

    • lj

      Obama has wasted more money on Obamacare. He actually took money away from the Vets to give to illegal aliens, so stop your BS outrage for the Veterans and place blame where it belongs. Obama’s administration has got to be the most corrupt in the history of the Nation. The reason there are so many investigations that seem to go nowhere is because Democrats are obstructing and obfuscating the issues They all have a Hive mentality. They are showing allegiance to Obama and not our laws or constitution. They are the problem not Boehner. Obama needs to be impeached but the Democrats will not do anything to reign in the lawlessness. They like the idea of having a King instead of a Republic.

    • BillyDe ”°º×»-(¯`v´¯)-» ♥ ♥

      I know! They should fire Issa and put Elijah in charge. Damn.

  • darrell_b8

    Cummings ONLY mission is to disrupt, delay, and obstruct the efforts of Issa’s committee…………he is EVIL!!

    • brunsk42

      Thai is one of the reasons they put him on the bengahzi panel too, run interference…

    • Jack Frost

      Trained monkeee!

    • Hope Peters

      You are so wrong! You want to know who is truly EVIL & SLIMY: Check out the link and truth about ISSA!
      “The Koch brothers have contributed $107,000 to 13 Republican members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, of which Issa is the Chairman.”

      “$12,500 in Koch funding has gone to Issa specifically, along with $5,000 to his PAC.”

      . Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) is a six-term member of Congress, representing
      Califomia’s 49th congressional district. Rep. Issa chairs the House Oversight and Government
      Reform Committee. His ethics issues stem from knowingly and purposefully making public the
      contents of a wiretap application under court seal.”
      And Issa’s buddy Rep Coburn is just as slimy & EVIL: “Coburn owns stock in Pfizer, which paid for the slanted 60 minutes program.”
      “Coburn, R-Okla., is a practicing physician. He reported slight business income, $268, from the Muskogee Allergy Clinic last year; $3,000 to $45,000 in stock in Affymetrix Inc., a biotechnology company and pioneer in genetic analysis; $1,000 to $15,000 in stock in Pfizer Inc., a pharmaceutical company; and a $1,000 to $15,000 interest in Thomas A. Coburn, MD, Inc. Under Senate ethics rules, Coburn can’t accept money from his patients.”
      Yeah, this are your typical Republican hypocrites: Pot, kettle, black!
      But you go a head and rant on about shit you don’t know anything about. Blah, blah, blah! This witch hunting committee Issa heads is Nazi Germany, making Issa…you guessed it…Hitler!

  • Truth, Justice & AMERICAN Way


  • Brad

    Trey Gowdy is a gift from heaven.

  • Don Miller

    Let Cummings continue to embarrass himself with his infantile tantrums.

  • Jack Frost

    I would LOVE to see Issa walk over and bury his shoe in that ign0rant Babb00ns face!

  • York Aptain Sidney Field

    The Saint-Simonians coined the word “individualism” to describe the free and competitive culture that their centralized control opposed.

  • lj

    What a bizarre post. I think you need medication. Good luck with your cognitive dissonance. Maybe you need an operation to get your head out of your A$$.

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