Koskinen: ‘I Have Certainly Never Discussed IRS Business on My Own Personal (Email) Account'

Brittany M. Hughes | March 31, 2015 | 8:34pm EDT
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IRS Commissioner John Koskinen (AP)

(CNSNews.com) – When asked Tuesday whether he had ever used a personal email account to conduct government business, Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen said he had “never discussed IRS business on my own personal account” and has a government-issued computer set up at home to avoid mingling business and personal emails.

However, when asked whether other IRS employees only used government email accounts for agency business, Koskinen said that is the standing IRS policy, but added he “can’t guarantee” it is always followed.

Koskinen’s admission came during a Q&A session following his speech before the National Press Club Tuesday, when NPC President John Hughes asked him a question about IRS email policy sent by CNSNews.com.

“There’s been interest in the issue of using private email accounts as government officials. Have you ever discussed IRS business on a private email account, or used a private email server to store emails that are government records?” Hughes asked.

“You know, when this issue came up, how did you address this at the IRS? Did you do anything to make sure that people weren’t using private email for public discussion?” he added.

“The long-standing IRS policy is employees are not to do business on their private email system,” Koskinen responded, adding, “We monitor our systems regularly for security purposes.”

“I discovered early, I mean very early, in my career when I was preparing testimony and I wanted to work at home I sent the testimony home to my home computer so I could print it out and edit it,” Koskinen explained. “Within a couple days I had a visitor from IT security noting that I had been sending a couple emails to my computer. They assumed, correctly, that I was actually trying to edit my testimony. And they therefore gave me a computer and printer for home from the IRS so that I would have my account available to me at home, because in fact our strong policy is you can’t do [public] business on your personal email account.

“So back to the first part of the question: I have never, other than sending a couple pieces of draft testimony to my home email account, and I have certainly never discussed IRS business on my own personal account. And I am confident that we continue to enforce and remind people about that policy across the agency,” Koskinen pledged.

“Again, we have 87,000 people,” he said. “Does that mean no one is doing it? I can’t guarantee you that, but I can guarantee that we’re keeping a close watch on it, and if someone is doing it, they’ll hear from us pretty soon.”

Concerns over federal officials’ use of private and public email accounts and electronic devices has escalated due to several highly publicized scandals in the past several years.

Recently, it was revealed that Hillary Clinton used a private email account and server she kept at her home to conduct public business when she was secretary of State.

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