The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which represents 41 organizations in a federal lawsuit challenging the IRS, said today testimony by IRS Commissioner John Koskinen failed to provide detailed information about the ongoing investigation into the unlawful IRS targeting scheme of conservative and Tea Party groups. The ACLJ said today’s hearing underscored the strategy employed by the Obama Administration in this scandal: delay, distort, and misdirect.
“The arrogance exhibited by the IRS Commissioner is stunning,” said Jordan Sekulow, Executive Director of the ACLJ. “He refused to issue an apology for what has become a deepening targeting scandal and a growing effort to cover-up the scheme. His refusal to issue an apology, coupled with his less than direct testimony before lawmakers is an insult to the American people. Not only has he failed in an effort to begin re-building trust with the American people, his appearance today reinforced the problem with this out of control agency. The Obama Administration’s IRS remains dedicated to misleading the American people and obstructing Congressional investigators from obtaining the truth. In fact, the Commissioner’s assertion that appointing a special prosecutor to investigate the unlawful targeting scheme would be ‘a monumental waste of funds’ reflects the troubling reality that the Obama Administration would rather investigate itself. With today’s hearing and the performance of the Commissioner – it is now clearer than ever – that the only way the truth will come out is through an independent special prosecutor.”
In testimony today before the House Ways and Means Committee, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen refused to provide detailed information about missing emails from eight IRS officials – including former top IRS official Lois Lerner. Committee Chairman Dave Camp pressed the Commissioner on the timeline of events and concluded that the agency has been “keeping secrets.” And Rep. Paul Ryan was more direct telling Koskinen: “I don’t believe you.”
The hearing occurred as the ACLJ has heard from nearly 75,000 people demanding that a special prosecutor investigate the IRS scheme.
And the hearing comes just days after the ACLJ has sent letters to a number of federal agencies as well as Democrat lawmakers requesting that they “take the necessary steps to ensure preservation of any and all communications” between them and Lerner or any other IRS official in the Exempt Organizations office between January 2009 and the present.
At the same time, the ACLJ has notified the Department of Justice and the FBI that it will not permit its clients to meet with federal investigators because of the collusion between the IRS and federal agencies. The ACLJ says it is not in the best interest of its clients to voluntary cooperate with federal investigators because of evidence that the Justice Department was working with the IRS to see if it could “piece together” prosecutions of non-profits even before any evidence of wrongdoing emerged.
In its federal lawsuit, the ACLJ represents 41 organizations in 22 states. Of the 41 groups, 26 organizations received tax-exempt status after lengthy delays, 9 are still pending, 5 withdrew applications because of frustration with the IRS process, and 1 had their file closed by the IRS after refusing to answer the unconstitutional requests for more information.