Issa Gives IRS Commissioner Koskinen Second Chance to Amend Testimony

By Ali Meyer | July 2, 2014 | 1:37 PM EDT

IRs Commissioner John Koskinen. (AP)

( – Given that IRS Commissioner John Koskinen’s statements apparently contradict the statements by the attorney for former IRS official Lois Lerner on compliance with the Federal Records Act, House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is offering Koskinen a chance to amend his June 23 testimony, according to a press release from the Committee.

“Recent public statements from William W. Taylor III, the attorney representing former IRS official Lois Lerner, have raised new questions about Ms. Lerner’s Federal Records Act compliance practices and the circumstances surrounding the loss of e-mails and destruction of her hard drive,” Issa writes in a letter to Koskinen included with the press release. (See Letter, Issa to Koskinen.pdf)

“Accordingly, I ask that you assist the Committee in reconciling apparent discrepancies between your claims that Ms. Lerner fully maintained records and statements by her attorney that she did not, and that it was not her responsibility,” states Issa.

Lois Lerner, who served as director of the IRS Exempt Organizations Unit. (AP Photo)

Lerner, who used to run the Exemption Operations Unit of the IRS, is at the center of the investigation of the exemption-application delays of Tea Party groups in 2010 and 2011.

Although the House has requested (and subpoenaed) emails and other documents of Lerner's from the IRS, only a few weeks ago did the agency reveal that her PC had crashed, her hard drive was recycled, and emails from a period key to the investigation were gone.

On June 23, 2014, Koskinen testified that Lerner followed the Federal Records Act requirements by producing hard-copies of her e-mail messages. Koskinen said, “The responsibility is, if you have an email that’s a record, you print it out in hard copy. … My understanding is every employee is supposed to print records … that are official records on hard copy and keep them.  She had hard copy records.”

However, Lerner’s attorney apparently contradicted that claim when he told Politico on June 30, 2014 that “Lerner did not print out official records she may have sent over email because she didn’t know she had to. … If somebody is supposed to keep archived copies, that’s the IT department’s or her staff’s responsibility.”

House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), right, and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.). (AP)

In light of the new statements, Issa is giving Koskinen an opportunity to amend his testimony, noting that Lerner “did not follow policies necessary.”

“In light of statements by Ms. Lerner’s attorney, including the statement that she did not believe she was ‘required’ to maintain a printed archive of federal record e-mails, as well as the record of correspondence between Ms. Lerner and the Justice Department that the IRS apparently did not maintain, the Committee would like to offer you the opportunity to amend your testimony that you have no idea ‘whether anything that was lost was an official record or not’ and acknowledge that Ms. Lerner did not follow policies necessary for Federal Records Act compliance that have obstructed the congressional investigation into the IRS’s targeting,” Issa wrote.  (See Letter, Issa to Koskinen.pdf)

“The letter also requests the IRS to identify all employees responsible for Lerner’s compliance with federal records laws, as well as any employees who printed her email records,” the release states.