Paul Ryan Obliterates IRS Commissioner: 'I Don’t Believe You'

Barbara Boland | June 20, 2014 | 2:39pm EDT
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"This is unbelievable," said Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "The apology that ought to be given is to the American taxpayer, not to a government agency that is abusing its power."

Lawmakers on the Hill were incredulous today when Koskinen testified that Lois Lerner and other key employees' emails are gone forever because their hard drives were destroyed, and that the Obama administration has known of this since April.

"I'm sitting here listening to this testimony, I just - I don't believe it. That's your problem. Nobody believes you."

"The Internal Revenue Service comes to Congress a few years ago and misleads us and says no targeting is occurring," Ryan went on. "Then it said it was a few rogue agents in Cincinnati. Then it said it was also on Progressives. All of those things have been proven untrue."

"This committee sent a criminal referral of possible criminal wrongdoing just a month ago to the Justice Department - we've heard nothing. You bury in a 27 page letter to the Senate asking for them to conclude the investigation that you've lost Lois Lerner's emails during the time in question because of a hard drive crash.

"Monday, our investigators ask your agency whether any other hard drives crashed and we learn six other hard drives of the people we're investigating - you didn't tell us that," Ryan said.

Koskinen seemed defiant, and the exchange became testy as a visibly furious Ryan said: "This is unbelievable. You can reach into the lives of hardworking taxpayers and with a phone call, an email, 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're ever audited, and you can't keep six months' worth of employee emails?!"

"And now that we're seeing this investigation, you don't have the emails. Hard drives crashed. You learned about this months ago and you just told us. This is not being forthcoming. This is being misleading again. This is a pattern of abuse, a pattern of behavior that is not giving us any confidence that this Agency is being iimpartial. I don't - I don't  believe you. This is incredible."

Koskinen replied: "I have a long career. That's the first time anyone's said I don't believe you."

"I don't believe you," Ryan repeated.

Watch the full exchange.

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