House Oversight calls on Obama to remove IRS Commissioner Koskinen

House OversightToday, Chairman Jason Chaffetz along with 20 members of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee joined together in calling upon President Obama to remove Internal Revenue Service(IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen from office.

Read their letter to Obama.

If Koskinen is not removed, they are threatening to impeach Koskinen. At this point, I think that's absolutely necessary and in fact a rather restrained response to the fiasco. Even so, it will be tough to get 67 votes in the Senate.

What's depressing is that the Republican leadership seems to think this sort of activity will distract their base from the betrayals of principle and caving to Obama that they have been engaged in since the 2014 elections.

It will not.

But there's more information in the Oversight letter that's worth pointing out. Specifically, we now know how the backup tapes were destroyed despite the preservation order in place.

House Oversight LetterLyewsang authorized the desctruction of the tapes because Steve Warren, the manager of IT backup equipment nationwide, told him the tapes were not needed and the room where they were located needed to be cleaned out. Warren told Lyewsang the agency no longer needed the tapes sometime in the fall of 2013. Lyewsang told TIGTA that the IRS wanted to remodel the space to house a new network operations center, and he was being pressured to move the backup tapes. Lyewsang's intern testified under oath about the disorganized cleaning process, specifically that the room in question had been a year overdue for clearing out to reduce computer space.

So why the sudden pressure for a new network operations center in the room holding all their old backups? I smell a rat here. The timing stinks, since the destruction of the tapes comes less than a month after the email gap was discovered at the IRS. And isn't it funny how the discovery of that gap in itself was not followed up on in any kind of timely fashion?

The backup tapes still existed -- were apparently being preserved -- until an IRS employee noticed the gap and sought to conduct a quality control check using the backup tapes to see what happened to the missing emails. That quality control check didn't take place... and instead, suddenly pressure was applied to the people managing the backup tapes to destroy them. The pressure doesn't sound like the routine sort of pressure -- "Gosh, why do we still have all these old tapes around?" -- but rather, a sudden need to repurpose the storage space for something else. That "need" wouldn't require the destruction of backup tapes, which could be easily moved to another location. Or provided directly to Congress if the IRS no longer wished to use a room storing them.

So in light of those facts, why hasn't Congress called Steve Warren before the Oversight Committee to testify under oath why he was so insistent on that storage space being cleared out all of a sudden? Was he put under pressure? Did someone order him to find an excuse to destroy those tapes?

If we ask the right questions, maybe we'll actually get answers.

This entry was published Tue Jul 28 13:45:51 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2015-07-28 13:45:51.0. [Tweet]

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