Fire and Issa: GOP Builds Steam in IRS Case

Barb Wire

By Tony Perkins

Family Research Council — The IRS isn’t playing in tonight’s congressional baseball game, which is probably a good thing since officials aren’t exactly hitting it out of the park in their Hill testimony. House hearings have already gone extra innings this week, as conservatives try to get to the bottom of the 24,000 new reasons not to trust the IRS: Lois Lerner’s AWOL emails. While IRS Commissioner John Koskinen insists the messages are as lost as the Malaysian airliner, tech experts disagree.

In 2008, CBS reports, Anthony Verducci, a writer at Popular Mechanics, ‘took two laptop drives … beat the heck out of them until we heard the signature clicking of mechanical hard-drive failure. Then we submerged one of the drives in custom-made storm-surge floodwaters (salt water, construction debris, oil) and let it soak for four days.’ He still got nearly 100 percent data recovery.” The bottom line? “It’s hard to kill a hard drive.” A fact not lost on U.S. voters. A vast majority of Americans — 76% — think the emails were deliberately destroyed (including 63% of Democrats!). Another 74% told Fox News they think Congress should investigate the IRS “until someone is held accountable” (with 66% of Democrats’ support).

Speaking of holding the IRS accountable, the Justice Department refuses to in the National Organization for Marriage case. Two years ago, an IRS official intentionally released NOM’s confidential tax information to its opposition, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). To intimidate NOM’s donors, HRC posted the personal information on its website.

This week, a judge in the lawsuit ruled that IRS illegally exposed the donor list and ordered the agency to pay NOM $50,000 in damages. The IRS agreed, admitting to the wrongdoing in a major victory for the movement. But once again, Attorney General Eric Holder is refusing do his job and launch a criminal investigation against the IRS employee responsible. “So the gay activist who conspired with an IRS employee to deliberately try and damage the reputation of a nonprofit group refuses to divulge the name of his co-conspirator and the donors to NOM are open to all kinds of personal and professional pressure to toe the pro-gay marriage line or suffer the consequences,” writes Rick Moran. “Just another day in Obama’s America.”

In Monday night’s primetime drama, House Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) couldn’t believe what they were hearing from IRS Commissioner (and big-time Democratic donor) John Koskinen. “You worked to cover up the fact that there were missing emails… and only came forward… after you were caught red-handed,” Issa accused in the four-hour IRS grilling. “At what point,” fumed Congressman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), “does [withholding the email news] become obstruction of justice?”

Yesterday, a U.S. Archivist testified that, in fact, the IRS “did not follow the law” when it refused to report the lost emails. Under the Federal Records Act, agencies are supposed to notify Archives when “they realize they have a problem,” especially when the files are official government documents.

The IRS is a joke. No, really, Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) points out, they are. “Taxpayers should be allowed to offer the same flimsy, obviously made-up excuses the Obama administration uses.” (Like Lerner’s “stuff happens?”) In a hilarious “Dog Ate My Tax Receipts” bill, Stockman mocked the IRS by offering legislation that would give taxpayers the right to offer their own ridiculous excuses when the agency comes calling:

1. The dog ate my tax receipts

2. Convenient, unexplained, miscellaneous computer malfunction

3. Traded documents for five terrorists

4. Burned for warmth while lost in the Yukon

5. Left on table in Hillary’s Book Room

6. Received water damage in the trunk of Ted Kennedy’s car

7. Forgot in gun case sold to Mexican drug lords

8. Forced to recycle by municipal Green Czar

9. Was short on toilet paper while camping

10. At this point, what difference does it make?

Ironically, the White House says Republicans are turning this into a partisan issue — something it already was when the IRS singled out conservatives for harassment.

Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.

(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

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