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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  March 28, 2014 4:00pm-6:01pm EDT

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the chairman simply disregards these facts and are also at odds with the chairman of the ways and means committee who issued a press release just this month praising the irs for its cooperation with document requests and i quote, as a significant step forward. ..commissioner, i wanted to tha you for your efforts during things investigation and for your exceptional cooperation and i want to thank all of those irs employees who are working so hard and tirelessly to do their jobs and with that, mr. chairman, i thank you and i yield back. >> thank the gentleman. i am pleased to welcome our witness, mr. -- commissioner john koskinen. he was appointed by the president to report and restore trust and accountability to the irs. commissioner, you have a difficult task ahead of you.
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the american people do not have, in my opening statement says any faith, but they certainly don't have the faith they once had in the irs to be truly a nonpartisan, nonpolitical tax collector. and rightfully so. does part, her political ideology. as a nonpartisan or nonpolitical agent he conspired to leak the findings of an independent inspector general report? the irs did. as a nonpartisan nonpolitical agency withhold documents requested during the congressional investigations subject to a lawful subpoena, the irs does, did and continues to. that's a nonpartisan, nonpolitical agency reinterpret laws protecting taxpayer information when it appears their employees violated the law. the irs says.
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as a nonpartisan, nonpolitical agent he blatantly ignore congressional subpoena? again, the irs continues to. the american people believe the irs is now a politicized agency because the irs is a politicized agency. our constituents deserve better than this, commissioner. you are the presidents man of the irs. you are one of only two political appointees, but it is clear that individuals did on their politics and we now have some and only some of the e-mails to prove it. you were brought in to do a very hard job and no doubt you ask yourself every day, why did i get and ask for and except one of the hardest jobs anyone could ever have been washing to. and i appreciate that you are there and that you want to do
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that job. one of the ways you could do it is by ordering your people to comply with outstanding subpoenas. your response to the virus targeting scandal has been bowled by the ranking member standard and does mall by my standard. this committee doesn't count how many documents are produced, but we do count when documents clearly responsive to the subpoena are clearly not deliver. the committee has named -- excuse me, has made document requests almost 11 months ago that are still unfulfilled. i issued to subpoenas. the second to you personally and there's still outstanding and this is unacceptable. unfortunately, you've been more concerned with managing the political fallout that co-opt reading with congress or at
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least this committee. i requested that you reduce all of lowest learners e-mails to his committee. she won't talk to us, so these e-mails at the next best substitute and we need these e-mails and you know we are not only in title ii the, but by all that is holy, we deserve and the american people deserve access to know why somebody whose faith citizens united, who cites political gain, including the outcome of senate majorities, who cites in a public speech statements about we need to fix it because the fec can't do it, who cites they want us to do it and then takes the fifth when we asked who they are. those e-mails in their entirety are clearly responsive. these are easy requests.
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and one that were made back in may, but have not been honored and that request is one that you said you had worked to fully comply. i understand you reached an agreement with the ways and means committee to produce a limited suspect of ms. lerner's e-mails. let me make it clear. your ways and means without a subpoena does not satisfy your obligation under a subpoena to produce all of her e-mails to this committee. commissioner, your objection or your refusal to cooperate with the committee delays bringing the truth cost the american people the confidence they hope to rebuild and clearly it's running up the cost to the american taxpayer. i know you want to bring this investigation to a close as soon as possible and i do, too. but the only way you can do that is to fully comply with the request and i hope you'll take
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that to heart today. i yield back. >> i now recognize the gentleman from ohio for his opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman. at least provide a little context for today's hearing. searching or 2010, the president of the united states in a state of the union address, the supreme court regarding the citizens united decision. singer 2010, the president numerous times talked about tea party groups a shadowy groups who would hurt our democracy. that same year, senator schumer says we are going to get to the bottom of encouraging the irs to investigate. senator baucus the same year asked the irs to investigate applications and see for groups. senator durbin asked the irs to investigate crossroads gps. in that same year, 2010 from the two weeks before the election, october 19 at duke university, lois lerner is a speech and she
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says the supreme court dealt a huge blow in the citizens united decision and everyone is up in arms because they don't like it. they want the iris to fix the problem. the irs was not to fix the problem. see for can-do political activity. everybody is screaming at right now. it was everybody? everybody is not everybody. everybody's the president and democrat senators to ask her to do something. fix it now before the election. lois lerner says i can't do anything right now. she couldn't fix it before the 2010 midterm election. what she could do is start a project to deal with in the future and that's exactly what she did. again, weeks before the midterm election, lerner tells her colleagues let's do a c-4 project next year. she also says we need to be cautious so it is in a per se political project.
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in fact, the chairman put this e-mail up at our last hearing. per se political project means code for a political project, we have to make it look like it's not a political project. in early 2011, lerner orders a multitiered review of c-4 applications. you know what that is? code for we are going to delay, harass them and make it difficult. that is part of the c-4 project. and make no mistake, she put washington in charge. this e-mail is also won the chairman put up that i left needing where lois lerner 72011, tea party matter very dangerous should not have these cases. this is the cincinnati doing this is completely false. she ordered them to not have these cases and then what happened? lois lerner got caught with her hand in the cookie jar. tea party groups came to us and said we are being harassed. we asked the inspector general
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to do an investigation. he did the audit and before he released the audit, lois lerner in a speech in front of the bar association this time was supplanted in question revealed the guests come in targeting mistake in place. what did she do? she throws the cincinnati people under the bus, the very people that should know the cases, she throws them under the bus. here's the real kicker, lois lerner to get this project with the pressure from the president and democrat senators who did this project, she won't talk to us. she won't talk to a center witness today won't give us your e-mail come even though we subpoenaed over six months ago. mr. chairman, both florida law talk to us. she'll talk to people who can put her in jail, she won't talk to us and the guy who can get his e-mail spoke to this e-mail. here's my today's hearing is so important. the c-4 will be proposed that 139,000 comments would codify
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what lois lerner put into practice. but in fact accomplish the goal she set out to do in 2010. the c-4 role -- we do here in ago, mr. chairman, we had the aclu, tea party patriots, the voter cyclists association of america and the home school legal defense. all four of those groups came to the hearing. this rule stinks and should return out. think about that. from the aclu to the tea party for homeschoolers to harley riders, everyone is supposed to. everyone knows except the irs. and now today we get a chance finally to question the guy in charge of this rule, running this agency. here's the final thing, mr. chairman, i yield back to the same people who pressure to lois lerner to fix the problem are the same people who picked john costin then to finish the
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job. that is where we are at. all we are asking us to give us the e-mails. through this room at trash because the only people who want this rule or this and the irs. everyone else does it stinks. everyone else knows it cannot fight today's hearing is so important. with that, yield back. >> would not recognize the gentleman from virginia for a statement on behalf of mr. carpe. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. koskinen, welcome back. i remember working with you on y2k and you did a great job dad and i certainly hope you'll do a great job now. i certainly think you are a great choice to be the new commissioner of the irs. in listening to statements from the other side of the aisle, one might think that the irs has stonewalled the congress and has been completely uncooperative. and yet, since the release of
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the audit report, the irs has produced 420,000 pages of documents to this committee, facilitated 32 interviews of current and former irs employees and testified that six separate hearings. that's not noncooperation. in addition, on march 7, 2014, congressman dave camp, the chairman of the ways and means committee issued a press release commending the irs on its cooperation with the committee and in particular it is production of documents. he stated, and i quote, this is a significant step forward and will help us complete the investigation. that cooperation included an agreement with the ways and means committee in terms of which e-mails in fact would be provided. the chairman says he shares your
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call and desire to advance that he needs more cooperation and i certainly take the chairman at his word. the one that the suspicion that some of our friends on the other side of the aisle to and that's ongoing, if you can call it.com investigation because it serves their political leanings. mr. jordan just cited a panel we had. i was at that hearing and one had the impression that this is all feeding the base. it's designed to get certain groups all riled up in times for midterm election. >> would the gentleman yield? >> i'm going to finish my statement, mr. jordan, as you are allowed to finish yours. the serious purpose of investigation seems to be lost. this committee on a partisan vote decided that a citizen who happened to work for irs, not an
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heroic figure in the story, but a citizen protected by constitutional rights had in fact we are right. a very dubious finding a long case history of the course going back to the mccarthy at a when people needed that 10th amendment to make sure they weren't entrapped by their own words, by star chambers are people willing to play fast and loose with facts and with the truth to make some political points. the fact you might be an unwitting victim, you are a casualty of war. none of my colleagues on this committee of course would engage in this kind of thing, but to strengthen american citizen of her fifth amendment rights, a rate enshrined as sacred by the founders who had been treated to the tender loving mercies of the
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justice. it stunk so much they wanted to protect every american citizen from that kind of treatment, even if they might be hiding something. even if they weren't hurlock figures. cicely by the fifth amendment wasn't there. so mr. koskinen, there are some of us here are who wish you well and will certainly cooperate with you and try to make sure yours is a successful tenure. obviously to the extent you can cooperate even more fully with this committee, that would be welcome. but be aware that unfortunately this committee has a habit sometimes of cherry-picking facts and a leaking. i heard the chairman complain about the irs leaking documents. that would be a terrible thing, certainly not something we ever do in this committee. but just in case, be prepared because that may happen to you, too. thank you for your cooperation, but be on your guard because
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there's something else at work here. i yield back. >> members may have seven days with which these admit opening statements for the record, including extraneous materials therein. the chernow welcomes the honorable john koskinen, who is the commissioner of the internal revenue service, welcome. pursuant to the rules, all witnesses are sworn to please rise, raise your right hand to take the oath. do solemnly swear or affirm that the testimony you're about to give a bit of truth, whole truth and nothing but the truth? please be seated. let the record reflect the witness answered in the affirmative. you're a seasoned pro at this, but i will remind everyone your entire statement is in the record and defend distributed in the packet and you may summarize the d.c. it.
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you're recognized. >> good morning chairman issa, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss irs activities in regards to determination process for tax-exempt status. i am honored to serve as the irs commissioner and to have the opportunity to lead this agency had dedicated employees because i believe the success of the irs is vital to this country. what is my primary responsibilities as irs commissioner is to restore whatever public trust has been lost. as a result of the management problems that came to light last year in regard to the application process for 501(c)(4) status. taxpayers need to be confident that the irs will treat them fairly no matter what their backgrounds, affiliations, who they voted for the last election. i am committed to ensuring we restore and maintain that trust. i am pleased to report to you
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that the irs has made significant progress in addressing the issues and concerns with the fantasy for determination process. first of all, we've been responding to the recommendations made by the treasury inspector general for tax administration. of the inspector general's report in may of last year that found applications for 501(c)(4) status had been screened using an appropriate criteria. as of late january, we completed action on all nine of the inspector general's recommendations. our actions have included reducing inventory of 501(c)(4) application, including the group of 145 cases since so-called priority backlog that is outstanding for more than 120 days in 2013. as of this month, 126 of those cases have been closed including 98 that have been improved get of this 98, 43 took advantage of a self certification procedure
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we offered last year. i'll show in response to the inspector general, treasury and irs issued proposed regulation n-november intended to provide clarity in determining the extent to which 501(c)(4) organization may engage in political activity without endangering the tax-exempt status. as you know, we've received over 150,000 comments on that draft. although i do not control by myself rulemaking process, the treasury and irs have a long-standing history of working collaboratively in this regard and i'll do my best to ensuring a final regulation is fair to everyone, clear and easy to administer. a lot of the actions we've taken in response to the inspector general, we continue to make every effort to cooperate with the six ongoing investigations into this 501(c)(4) determination process, including this committee's investigation. the irs has devoted significant
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resources to the committee's investigation and requests for information as well as those of other congressional committees. more than 250 irs employees has spent nearly 100,000 hours working directly on complying with the investigation a direct cost of $8 billion. we also had to add capacity to a computer system to make sure we're protecting taxpayer information while processing materials. we estimate that were cost another $6 million or more today we produce more than 690,000 pages of redacted documents to the house ways and means committee and the senate finance committee is, which has section 61 of three authority, which means they can see taxpayer information. we produce more than 420,000 pages0,000 pages of redacted documents to this committee, and the senate permanent committee on -- and subcommittee on investigations. last week we were pleased to announce that we believe we have completed our productions to the ways and means and finance
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committees of all documents we have identified related to the processing and review of applications for tax exempt status as described in the may 2013 insctorenera and i would stress that we are continuing to cooperate with this committee and others receiving redacted documents that will continue redact in providing documents until the process is complete. as part of the process, it is my understanding we will deliver a substantial number of documents to this committee later today as part of the ongoing process. in light of the document productions i hope the investigations of the determination process can be concluded in the very near future. in the event this committee would at some point in the future decide to investigate other matters pertaining to the c-4 area come or the examination process, the irs stands ready to cooperate with you. mr. chairman, that concludes my statement. i'd be happy to take your questions. >> thank you. i recognize myself a round of
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questioning. did you need to upgrade your computers in order to produce all of lois lerner's e-mails? did you need to upgrade computers to produce all of lois lerner e-mails? benighted we have to upgrade computers to produce all the e-mails and documents. >> i appreciate that. my time is limited. i recently pulled all of my e-mails off of the house computers. it took one person that housecall a part of a very small part of the morning to jennet up and produce it. i understand it takes a while to go through them. but if i'm correct, in a matter of hours, not after we subpoena, but after we showed interest, your agency had taken all of lois lerner, all of william wilkins, all jonathan davis, former chief of staff, all of
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the navy are maybe not all of them pertaining to the white house, but the first four take a matter of minutes to do. so my question is are subpoena, which is not extensive for those who are particularly asked for information that asked for all the e-mails that somebody who has been the e-mails we've seen, both government and nongovernment e-mails in some cases acted overtly political in her speeches and her activities, including what mr. jordan quoted pbs for all for all of her e-mails. do you have any privilege or any reason you can and should have delivered that months ago? pc into a have more information than i do. we have 90,000 employees in my enders ending of the process is to go through all of those e-mails, which are millions of e-mails to make sure we have not only the outgoing e-mails, but incoming e-mails is not a matter of a few minutes or a few hours.
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in any event, we have provided for in the process of providing all the information -- related to the termination process. >> commissioner, that is not -- [inaudible] i want to be very clear. the issue to subpoenas because he didn't cooperate based on letters. are subpoena says all of lois lerner female, is your position today you intend to give us those responsive to some key search word for you intend to give us all of lois lerner e-mails, all of william wilkins e-mails, all of jonathan davis' e-mails. >> we are working to the process. we have never said we would not provide those. >> will you provide all of the e-mails for those for individuals? >> we are actually trying to an orderly way including investigation of on the determination process about which is what the ig report reported two.
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we've had over 250 people at various times working on the investigation. we are producing e-mails. you'll get enough copies today and you'll continue to get them. our hope is you could concentrate on the determination process. gao set the congressional request to any review, study and a review on the examination process. as i said my letters to you -- >> commissioner, you said something and i want to focus on not. he said your hope is would focus on the termination process. >> i can tell you what to focus on. >> thank you here we are focusing on those individuals. we have asked for all of their e-mails and a legal subpoena. my question to you today, will you commit here today to provide all of the e-mails? not all the e-mails you believe are responsive, novel the e-mails you choose to give, not all of the e-mails other than embarrassing, all of the e-mails. >> mr. chairman, we prepared to
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continue to work with your staff. when you say all of the e-mails, you're going to get hundreds of thousands of pages of irrelevant documents. >> i'm sorry. lois lerner is an individual asking for all of her e-mails. she obviously had a limited amount of e-mails. quite frankly, we asked for all the e-mails. we believe the e-mails, for example, where she talked about the outcome of the senate races maintaining democratic-controlled because of indiana and other states. the outcome of the maryland pro-initiative, all of those are responsive to who she was and why she did what she did. therefore, we have asked for the case of these individuals, all of their e-mails. holly pause, for examples that she didn't know what citizens united was while lois lerner
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made it clear she was trying to find a way to them for citizens united the irs. the party seen the documents for that. we today commit to consider out the e-mails, not all you think are responsive, before scores than a lawyer can rate of the subpoena says they are asking for, which all the e-mails for lois lerner, while the e-mail for william davis and all the e-mails for wilkins -- jonathan davis. these are all the ins and outs from their mailboxes. it's not difficult. you are to have pulled a tiered there's no question at all. it's a question of will he deliver them. >> mr. chairman, were happy to continue to work with you. i'm not aware we've pulled them out, but to the extent we have, they all have to be redacted it will work with you and advise you as to what the volume is. the reason the search terms were selected by committee staff here and in the other investigations.
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>> my time is expired. you previously selected search terms, as to give priority. that's all fine. the subpoena personally delivered to you, which we expect you to comply with or potentially be held in contempt. those e-mails were very specific based on individuals who have become specific focus on why they did what they did and what they have said, whether it is true or not is critical to this committee's discovery of intent. will you commit to deliver all of those e-mails redacted only for 6103. >> yes, as i say, with never said we would produce e-mails are the search terms were not selected by the irs. they were in fact selected in cooperation with the various congressional investigations on the house and senate side to try and limit the volume of material you're going to get.
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we will be happy to provide you -- >> my time is expired. then they make it clear imposing. it does not take any terms to respond to all the e-mails of lois lerner. you'll get a lot of e-mails and as noted earlier, you may want to have the investigation go on forever. we have provided you love the e-mails. we are providing you lois lerner e-mails with regard to issues you've raised by the examination process, the appeals process in the regulatory process. >> i appreciate that. >> i thank the chairman has asked a very good question and i want to give you an opportunity to respond. what is -- so when you all are going through these e-mails, the last part of what you said is very significant.
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he said something about they have to be relevant. i mean, where you getting all of that from? you remember what you just said, it sounded like there were certain things that were used, terms that were used to decide what you think is responsive to the subpoena. can you explain that to us? in other words, i'm just -- whatever, is that part of the process? >> you said something about relevance. part of the process started when there is literally millions of e-mails was to take a look at an agreement with the staff of the investigating committees, take a look at 83 originally a smaller number, the irs out of two custodians, the people sending and receiving e-mails. there were 83 we agreed to look at.
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in terms of what would be relevant would be determined by congressional committees as well as the irs to limit the volume. you still have 700,000 pages of relevant documents. to the extent that somebody wants to look at hundreds of thousands more pages of the search terms defined by the congress would be turned development at some point we are happy to provide those. we'll provide those in the orderly course. i will say you are experiences that will an overwhelming volume of materials that will take a significant time to redact taxpayer information from a significant part of which was nothing to do with the investigation. if that's the way the committee wants to go, we'll go that way. the other committees in the early determinations decided that would be a fruitless task of overwhelming the investigators, not us, overwhelming investigators for thousands of pages of irrelevant documents therefore they suggested with us and selected with us search terms of what
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would be relevant. tea parties, examinations, whatever else they picked. a whole series of terms designed to limit the volume of materials. we still have provided a lot of duplicate a can probably a relevant materials within the search terms where we have not determined anything. if those are the terms that will help you whittle it down, we are happy to work with you. if the committee wants to get simply large volumes of personal e-mails from a lot of different people, we will go through again, making sure we redact those appropriately. we provided on redacted copies of all of this in terms of relevance determined by the committees to the other committees and provided all of the redacted information available and we are continuing to redact it. he cannot be done overnight. >> thank you very much. i want to go to the recommendations of the inspector general because this is oversight government reform and i think the committee to take
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some credit for what you have said if there were nine recommendations and you've all been able to address all nine of them. we don't hear that quite often in this committee. the inspector general's report issued in may of last year made nine recommendations. i have a charger that list each one of these nine that nations from the inspector general. the title of the chart is exempt organizations, recommended actions and of february 2014 -- >> mr. chairman, i ask unanimous consent that the irs been entered into the record. >> commissioner, in addition to the scene each of nine recommendations, this judge describes in detail the status of each recommendations. the work taken place over the last 10 months as well as reforms are implemented. is that correct?
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>> yes. if i'm reading the chart correctly, it appears online for the inspector general's recommendations have failed, is that right? let's look more closely at the status of these recommendations. the inspector general several recommendations on page 10 of his report. they propose that the irs tedious procedures for how screeners in cincinnati classify applications. all of these are now marked as completed. commissioner, can you explain what new guidance the irs has provided to screeners in cincinnati about how they should classify and process these applications in an appropriate way. >> the criteria for exempt meant under c-4 are complicated because it is a facts and determination. the guidance of the new training
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has provided more guidance to those revealing as to what a superb read political advocacy and what is direct political campaign intervention as the campaign intervention becomes your primary activity, you in fact are not eligible to be a 501(c)(4). they are obviously complicated terms. we provide a better guidance and also new and improved supervision for any determination that is going to be delayed. we also have provided clear lines of authority so if anyone needs advice or additional assistance, they can get that automatically and easily. >> on page 17 of the inspector general report, another recommendation and echo, provide oversight that was central, political cases, some of which have been in the process for three years are approved or denied expeditiously. in response come in the irs has come and i quote, as of february 21, 2014, 112 cases in the original backlog, 85% have
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been close. commissioner, this is good news and i understand from your testimony today that this number has gone even higher to 87%. can you please explain how this expedited review process works? >> a one minute left of my time. >> interim commissioner who i think did a great job established a process for expedited review and any applicants who simply certify they were not going to spend more than 40% of their time on political activity could be proved immediately in the streamlined process continues for new applicants. 45 or so of the existing at that time pending applicants filed the paper and were immediately reviewed and approved. those that are still pending have decided not to sign the affidavit that they would not spend more than 40% of their time on political activity. >> i understand the irs is now
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completed all the inspector general recommendations, but going forward with additional plan to have to ensure management problems have been fully addressed? >> we've agreed that the inspector general before an election we will conduct training sessions and try to sensitize all of the people reviewing applications to make sure we handle them appropriately no matter what the political background of any organizations would apply to people at one end of the spectrum where the other. that will be done before pre-election as we go forward. >> thank you. before i call another number, i want to make it clear, staff has informed me, for the record that early on but the irs they did mutually agree to search terms before the subpoenas were issued there was never an assurance that those search terms were being used and we don't know if those search terms were actually used. one of the challenges is that
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was abandoned in favor of subpoenas because of what they believe to be noncompliance a number of months in. there was an initial attempt to work cooperatively. as i said, there is a question of whether or not search terms overgaard used. we now go to the gentleman from florida, mr. mica. >> thank you, mr. chairman. we've had an opportunity to interact and i always appreciate your candor. the very heart of this matter is a basic fact that irs appears to have been years prior to the election, the presidential election and a concerted effort to close down or keep that to a
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conservative organization by targeting them. you are aware of that, sir? >> i am aware of what was noted earlier the inspector general found inappropriate criteria were used to select organizations for further review. he did not refer to it as targeted. >> you heard one of the principal irs officials who was involved with lois lerner who came to the chair where you are sitting now at the fifth amendment. she is at the heart of most of this activity. it was pointed out by mr. jordan that she can talk did -- it was almost a hollywood production before the general may 14 came out with his report to blame the people in cincinnati for rogue
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irs employees who gathered around the water cooler and concocted a scheme to again target and i think she laid that out. is that not correct? i mean, historically you know that as a fact she appeared before the american bar association, before the report came out and made those statements, correct? >> she did make those statements. i would note that because as i said in a letter to chairman -- >> but again, this committee -- you see how people try to throw people under the bus. whether it's the chairman company mr. cummings said the case is closed. we started our investigation june 9 you can maybe start
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investigation. mr. cummings, the ranking member said, the case is closed. and june 9 -- well, he said i've seen the cases solved. i brought this case up and move on. so he tries to throw the case under the bus. he tries to throw the chairman under the bus. he sent a letter before that your actions over the past years do not reflect a response bull bipartisan approach to investigations. now, he has a constitutional in-house responsibility for investigations and oversight. you have a responsibility to provide us with information. we've asked you specifically for about a half a dozen individuals e-mails, including lois lerner. in fact correct? >> yes. >> you said you just testified to probably you gave 640,000 to
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the ways and means than 422 our community, but you also say here and play the tape back with the most irrelevant material, right? probably mostly irrelevant material for your words. at great expense. the irs and most bureaucracies have no problem spending lots of money doing things we don't need. we ask you very specifically for the e-mails from six persons, six individuals then you have not complied, including lois lerner, is that correct? >> my point is which are going to get is mostly irrelevant. >> we are interested specifically in lois lerner and others to find out who did what. you are aware of sidney thomas' statements. she was the chief person out in cincinnati and she said may 10, the copy to lois lerner, we have a copy of that to lois lerner with a copy to holly pot.
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she said, cincinnati wasn't publicly thrown under the bus. instead, it was hit by a convoy of fast tracks. are you aware of her state that, what took place? >> idea. i'm aware of the fact to the significant number of lois lerner e-mails. >> we don't have what we want. again, it is a game of you providing us with probably huge amounts of a relevant materials. you can get us a billion documents. that's not what we asked. we asked specifically -- >> can i answer a question? >> of course. the gentleman's time has expired. first of all, your earlier comment about your staff been unconcerned about whether the search terms are being followed is the first time i've heard that.
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we have followed those search terms. no other committee, none of the other five investigations going on have raised in a question about whether we've effect followed a search terms. so if your staff as the concern, i'd appreciate they let us know because none of the other five commission investigation and none of the other five staffs have raised that issue. as far as i know, we provided by search terms and provided everything the committees requested pursuant to those search terms and with regard to the determination process. with regard to lois lerner, because it not been able to cross examine her the cash is not an irs employee, we partied in providing you the e-mails in the factory staff report with the number of e-mails in regards the determination process. you been able to cross examine anything you want us to talk to them about. because you could not talk to lois, we are going to provide you lois lerner e-mails with regard to not only do once you have about determination, the
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lois lerner e-mails with regard to the examination process, the appeals process and to the extent there are any with regard to the development of the proposed regulations issued. those are the issues that have been raised, concerns about whether involvement was. we've committed we will provide those to you. we prioritize. we have not said we will not provided the rest of the. we prioritize trying to the document production so we would be able to get you the information we thought would be appropriate for the determination process. as i said in a letter to you, if you now want to run investigation of the other areas with those employees or others, we are prepared to work with you. if you just want all the documents once redact it come in a matter what they are, we can give those to you. i can guarantee you he will go wonder it is not going to further the investigative process. if that will elect to do it, that'll be your your next priority. >> a quick unanimous request, this e-mail from cindy thomas to appear in the record at this
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point of proceedings and also a copy of the washing imposed june june 9 with the article to appear. >> without objection, so ordered. >> unanimous request for a minute. >> thank you. he just said something, mr. chairman, and i want to make sure it's clear. it sounds like he has an impression of what is dean subpoenaed using certain less. we have an opinion and they don't coincide. is that accurate? >> i think what has happened is the subpoena delivered to me in february that it wanted all the e-mails for a set of people. but we've been trying to do is all those people come to e-mails from people with regard to the determination process pursuant to the search terms we've been working with. we like the mall for anything. we have now finally completed,
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although we're still working on the reduction, all of the production of documents regarding the determination process, which is that the ig report focused on. we said that's the first priority. we've never said we're not going to provide the rest of the documents. trying to figure out the most efficient way to do it, we will provide you lois lerner e-mails on everything with regard to examination, appealed the regulatory process as it goes forward. when we are done with all that, if you want to actually get e-mails, if you want them all, we'll give them all to you. if you want to take a more focused investigation on the regulatory process, were happy to work with you to figure out how that goes. in light of the chairman's view, as honestly configured to reductions and go forward, will provide you volumes of e-mails, which many of them will be a relevant, which is what i said in and congressman mica's material, the ones you're likely to get if you want without any
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selective process we will redact them. there will be thousands of pages and were happy to provide them to you. it would not expedite the completion of this investigation as a significant part will be irrelevant. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> for the gentleman because it's a good question, for the reasons we requested all is that back when we were in the minority, we began digitally evaluating this kind of information and when we have all, the ones that commissioner is talking about, that were relevant and quite frankly no reduction because if they don't have 61 of three, there's no reduction appropriate. if that is the case, we do search terms that whatever we need to look at, but we constantly research to try to get to the bottom of it. as you can imagine, we would not have found lois lerner talking to her daughter about overtly political or dvd if we had only
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looked for determination. it wasn't relative to determination, but it was relative to possible motivation. the idea of the now wasn't aware of the speech at duke university in which it was clear that lois lerner was saying in plain terms as she was going to act on what the fec couldn't act on. so this is part of the investigation. it recently passed for all and quite frankly takes a lot less time to just go through them do these things and say that's got no 61 of three need to start sending it. that's what we hope for what we said issue subpoenas for because these are people, as you know, who said things before a committee or fail to say thanks in which they become whipsawed for my college person of interest. lois lerner and holly paused and so on and the other individuals or people of interest because of their possible role.
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so in other words, any e-mail with anybody talking to their daughter, if there is any relevance whatsoever, if they say i just don't like democrats, i mean, say that in any way you could connect that with an investigation and they're talking to their daughter. >> i just want to make sure the context. these are government e-mails from a government account here this is the use of irs assets to communicate. we would presume the majority of it is not shopping online. as a matter of fact in the case of lois lerner, shutter shopping online in a hotmail account. she also did 61 of three material on. in the normal case, this would not be something you flick through it in the department of justice is there during the
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investigation they claim to, we have an obligation to look and figure out whether we can opt-out these communications, which in this case are always the product of the government, always available and as you know, it is a given that communication on government computers is in fact open to government review. >> thank you. mr. conway. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would say to the ranking member, it sounds like and i would hope we would do the same with i don't know, the ig, mr. russell george, i'd like to see all of this over partisan political e-mails. i'd like to see if the e-mails relative staff members, to this committee. i think that would be relevant to put an end context his findings into determining whether he is a subjective source of information. that is a different matter.
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mr. koskinen, as i read the declaration of independence, it is written largely initially the first rock by thomas jeffers but was subject to an editorial to be. he didn't like that appeared he thought his words were good. among those words were entitled to life, liberty. now here's the editorial committee did not act. he sat in the pursuit of happiness. it sounds like some people would substitute for that to 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) tax systems. do you read that in the declaration of independence? >> i don't read it that way. >> it doesn't read that way. it's not really an ex-associate entitlement or right. it is a process you have to qualify for. is that correct? >> correct.
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>> there's many different ways to figure out how someone qualifies them whether they qualify, is that correct? >> correct. >> via march, iris society standard operating procedure for determining the status either 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) or other status. is that correct? >> correct. >> in this case, what we are all excited about is a filter was created in a regional office that seem to target people for their political views, both right and left, but apparently mostly right. is that right? >> as noted, the inappropriate criteria of reviews the name of the organization to select them for further review. >> one of the problems we got here is an absurd. the word used in the statute is exclusively a social welfare at is wholly devoted to that purpose, is that correct? >> that's correct it's been that
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despite the fact congress wrote that adverb into the law, iris took upon it up long before your tenure to interpret that meaning primarily. is that correct? >> that's correct. >> now, if i said to my spouse, we have an exclusive relationship and i mean by that, 29%, i'd probably have problems in my relationship to her and to me exclusively means just you all the time 100%. so how in the world did we get into a situation where the irs audit found outside of statutory authority decided to interpret this as primarily because to me that is part of the problem. exclusively and if congress wants to change that, we should change the law. but i don't remember congress invested irs with the authority to actually decide to interpret it radically different.
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not just some kind of a little fudge factor here. it seems to me therein is the problem because clearly some of these organizations are not as silly social welfare agencies. clearly they are larceny designed to be political, partisanly political. the concern the chairman house over partisan communication. i share that concern in all too many organizations hide under the umbrella social welfare when what they really mean is partisan political activity. can you address this dilemma for me at how the irs could possibly take the word exclusively and reinterpret it to me mostly, sometimes commensurate shy of 59% primarily. >> needless to say wasn't around in 1959 when the regulation -- one of the reasons in response to the inspector general's recommendations for clarification be provided, that
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the draft regulations are issued for comment was too impactful as the discussions about the definition of political ought to be. much of it out to be allowed before you jeopardize your tax exemption for an eligible for a tax exemption into which organizations in the the complex should he apply. the 150,000 comments address all three of those issues. the proposed draft was designed to in fact review and revisit the public and comments in congress exactly that issue. what should exclusively really mean? >> thank you. my time is up, mr. chairman. i certainly hope after this issue it might actually come together in a bipartisan basis. i hope the gentleman remembers or 501(c)(4)s are not tax-exempt to the contributors. they really are no different than any corporation that spends
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all of its money doing anything. but it is an interesting question of what social welfare was in 1859 and whether promoting a reduction in smoking or something else would have been considered political prior to the creation of the federal election commission. >> mr. chairman if i make to your point, we may even decide, look, let's just have a new category that if you want to be political in the one daughters are, hopefully you don't, there's this category so that were not playing frankly with words and in this sense, all been complicit in this disingenuous exercise. i take the chairman's point. >> i thank the gentleman. we now go to the gentleman from ohio. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. koskinen, what part of all adult you in the iris
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understand? you said 10 times now if you give us all lois lerner e-mails will get the relevant information. frankly with all due respect, we don't care what you think is irrelevant. the committee has asked for every single -- i asked for it and august from danny were false. we would get it someday, sometime. we want it all. if you limit to what you said earlier determination rules rulemaking, what if there's an e-mail from the white house that says hey, e-mail lois lerner and say keep up the great work. we appreciate -- that wouldn't fit under the category of the search terms you're talking about. when we say all, we want every single e-mail and the time. in the subpoena that was sent to you, plain and simple. do let me ask you, you agree with the audit report that came out. you agree there are problems here trying to comply with the audit report.
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it is accurate, mr. koskinen? i split up slide one. these are inappropriate criteria and questions the tea party groups that identified as going too far, inappropriate and fast. issues important to the organization announced the organization gave type of conversations in your meetings, inappropriate questions he couldn't be highlighted there. second slide. this is june candle in all she sent to senior technical adviser to lois lerner. same list, talking about how these are inappropriate questions that were asked of tea party groups. now we move to the proposed rule that scott so much controversy. i think approximately 150,000. more common role than ever proposed. is that accurate, mr. koskinen? >> take the comments for the
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last 30 years and you get that number. >> is it fair to say the vast majority are negative? >> i have no idea. >> based on the here and we had a few weeks ago paris had aclu and the tea party all saying we shouldn't have it, the vast majority -- i'm going to hazard to guess, are negative comments. .. this is a -- this is a newsletter that came out just three weeks ago. irs exempt organization newsletter march 4th, 2014. are you familiar with this newsletter that goes out to the exempt organizations division of the internal revenue service? >> i do not see those. >> okay. well this is put out by the exempt organizations division, same division where all these problems took place over the last three years, it came out, again, just five days after the comment period on the proposed rule ended, at the end of february. and i want to just highlight a few of the questions that are
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asked, so there's a category that says, what if the irs needs more information about your c-4 application. new sample questions.if we co the first are the targeting questions that were inappropriate and that you agree are inappropriate. those are those questions and now five days after the comment period you issue a new letter from the division highlighting the new questions you're going to ask if i want to ask how similar they are. but at the office director etc. has the one from the public office the new question is this for the public office it was one of your founders board members. when the teachers told us we shouldn't plagiariz plagiarize u change a few words an and basicy it was plagiarizing, this is the same things tha things as yourst understand if you're trying to comply with the report if the
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ew c-4 rule is a continuation i of the project started why areae you asking the same questions? >> welcome as i noted, i haven't seen that and can't read that out on the chart. i would be delighted to sit down over all those questions with you and with the exempt organization. all of the reports didn't say you should never ask questions about this thing. >> lets me read from the testimony. page seven of the testimony you submitted to the testimony yesterday talking about or notice of proposed rulemaking is consistent with the recommendations. recommendations. you said this in your testimony you give the committee. yet these kind of questions are inappropriate, and now just three weeks ago, the exempt organizations division issued a newsletter where you're acting almost verbatim.
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almost verbatim. >> the first questions is provide a list of all of the issues of the organization and indicate. the new question says describe how you prepare the voter guide. >> they are about the issues of organizations. it's the same thing. >> i would submit -- >> as a candidate i answered. >> i appreciate having a copy of this anti-look at the first question and the revision is very different -- >> very different. >> was kind of conversations and discussions does your member and participant have during the activity is now described as how you determine what questions to ask a candidate. it doesn't ask for your conversation. >> you specifically said -- >> you defend the statement that you're complying with the notice
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of proposed rulemaking consistent in their recommendations. i don't think it is. it is the same day this comes out you send me a letter our primary goal the letter to me you responded one of my primary goals and response abilities is whatever public trust has been lost over the course of the last several months yet you're asking the same questions that were inappropriate to ask the tea party groups. now as a response to the rule we changed the questions a little bit. >> if you ask an organization which are the questions that have been changed i think that these are new questions they do not further discussions and conversations you have or these are in fact new questions. >> the majority of people that are harassed yours would agree with my position. >> i'm happy to have this in the record and let the public decide whether or not we have responded appropriately.
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>> i apologize we go to the gingegentleman from missouri. >> the chairman wrote a letter to you yesterday complaining that you are guilty of a failure to comply with the committees documents. he also said, and i quote, the continued noncompliance in these requests also contravenes the pledge to cooperate in the investigations. >> even though you have already produced more than 400,000 pages to the committee, even though you have 250 employees working on producing more, he accuses you of violating the pledge and frustrating the oversight. and i think that this is shameful and it's even more so when you actually look at the unbelievably broad demand the
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chairman has made. let's look at one of these demands. number eight in the letter it demands the following, and i quote all documents referring or relating to the evaluation of tax-exempt applications or the examination of the tax-exempt organizations from january 1 to 2009 to august 2, 2013. what we read that again. all documents from 2009 to 2013 or relating in any way to the tax-exempt organizations. mr. commissioner how broad is this request. >> veteran and has been focusing on e-mails that you are right .-full-stop if the subpoena
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would mean that we would be at this for months or years collecting that information and then providing it. >> let me ask you this. the evaluation of the tax-exempt organizations is a function of the organization division of the irs. it is my understanding that about 800 people work in the division. is that correct? >> that's correct. >> so the chairman has gone onto national television and is threatening you with contempt unless the irs would have every document produced by 800 people over nearly a four-year time period. is that -- >> mr. commissioner, even if you wanted to comply with this demand, how long would you estimate that it would take to complete this document? >> we've already spent bumps and
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added 100,000 hours and 250 people working to produce the documents that we have in fac ft agreed with the committee would be relevant. this is a much broader more sweeping request to all of those documents, and i have continued to press our people because i'm anxious to get documents to the committee and investigators as fast as possible. there is no way we would get this information totally before the end of the year. this shows how the committee has moved from the government oversight to the government of use. these ridiculous demands are not only overbroad and a relevant, but they will force the irs to continue ways to purchase staff and financial resource in. this is about being reasonable
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and demanding documents within reason and i don't get that sense from this committee that we are going in the direction. we are going in the opposite direction. to me this is a partisan witchhunt which is already cost the irs more than $14 million compliance with these outrageous requests. it certainly doesn't reflect a good oversight, mr. chairman, and i'm really appalled that this investigation has gone through this land. >> what the gentleman yield? >> i certainly do. >> i think that looking for all of the e-mails to search through
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to see whether or not she inappropriately was in fact actively doing more than we already know -- is that appropriate -- >> i don't have a problem asking for her e-mails, but i do have a issue with asking for 800 peoples e-mails. all are all 800 connected to this investigation? >> we haven't received all of the e-mails which is one of the things we ask for. >> can we be more specific about what we are looking for from her e-mail? >> no, we cannot. >> we now go to the gentleman from utah. >> think the chairman and commissioner for being here. i have a copy of the subpoena that you were issued. you did receive this, correct? the date is february 14, correct
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you understand what it means. is there any question on what this means? >> i don't think so. >> do you belief that it was issued by the house of representatives? >> i'm assuming that. i have no basis for determining that. >> the schedule which is just eight items all communications received from january 12009 to august 2, 2013. is there any ambiguity in your mind? do you have any doubt as to what that means? >> if you want to go through all eight i have no doubt what any of them being. some of them he you're going to take months or years to get the information. >> that there is no doubt about it. there is no ambiguity about what it means. do you believe it has been an issue the subpoena that you haven't complied is that correct? >> there is physically no way anybody could have complied
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between february 14 and now. we never said we won't comply. >> are you going to comply? >> next year will be getting documents. >> what e-mail system do you use? is it outlook or -- >> we have microsoft. >> you go on there and want to find all of the items you send, hosent,how long would that take? >> well it would take a while because they are not all on my computer. they are stored somewhere. >> how long do you think it takes of the 90 plus thousand employees how long would it find, take to find all the e-mails that included her e-mail address? just lois lerner. like how long? >> there are millions of e-mails. >> minutes? >> i don't think so but i don't think it's minutes to give >> if you go and you check the box and the inbox and you
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suddenly have all of the e-mails, correct? >> they've been taken off and stored on servers in your 90,000 employees -- >> but i'm asking to find one, they type in her e-mail address. >> we can find lois lerner's e-mails. >> how long would that take? >> i have no idea how long. >> would it take a day? >> i just said i have no idea. >> you have a newly issued a subpoena. if you were in the private sector and someone was issued a subpoena and you didn't comply but would have been? >> the court would rule -- >> so you're going to make the determination. >> you asked a questio questione answer the question. in the court of law if you had provided the subpoena the judge would not enforce it. >> stop right there. whether you are going to be the judge -- >> you aren't being the judge latestoday to
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>> yes you are. >> are you or are you not going to provide this committee the e-mails as indicated? s. were no? >> we never said a -- >> i'm asking you yes or no. >> we are going to respond to the subpoena. yes we are going to respond. i'm just telling you the response we are going to be at this for years, not months. >> lois lerner -- are you or are you not going to provide the committee all of lois lerner's e-mails? >> yes we will do that. >> by when? >> i can only take you debate could tell you it's going to take my group to get the lois lerner e-mails redacted because you have to get them reacted for examinations, appeals -- >> no no no come is that what the subpoena says? >> would you like to hear the answer?
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>> i would like to know if you are too kind why didn't the -- complied. >> you asked me how long it would take to find the lowest lerner e-mails and i'm explaining to you why it's going to take time just to respond to the categories the six >> i don't want you to take the certain categories that you want. that isn't what this subpoena does. >> i am telling you just to supply the lois lerner e-mails which we are going to supply for the examinations -- >> no when it says all e-mails why are you qualifie you qualif? under what authority do you change this subpoena? >> you asked how long it was going to take and i was giving you an example of why it is going to take a long time because we have to retract how do those e-mails all of the 63. we are working very hard to get you the lois lerner e-mails and it's good to take several weeks to get you the lois lerner e-mails for examination appeals. >> why are you getting it if it
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is easier to give it to us all. >> i know it would take longer because we have to retract the rest of them. we actually selected those because in a letter from the senate ways and means committee also saying they focused on what they are looking for is those categories for prioritizing we said we would provide both. we are happy to provide you the rest of them. >> i'm yielding back. the commissioner has no intention of fully complying -- is a duly issued a subpoena that is the case. case. case. that is where both of us on both sides of the aisle need to stand up for the integrity of the house of representatives. would you have a duly issued a subpoena you complsubpoena you . it's not optional. >> the time is expired. >> the gentleman from maryland has unanimous consent. >> i never heard the commissioner say that he was not going to obey the subpoena.
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as a matter of fact that's all he's been saying. if the gentleman would yield, he has on every single question failed to take yes i will give you all the e-mails. he has gone into the ones he has prepared to give, the ones he could get to the ways and means in an hour because once you do the search you dump it to them. and even then he said that those with take the ones he says he's going to give us he said it would take a couple weeks and of course the subpoena is a couple months old. reclaiming just for a second i just want us to be clear. timtime is precious and money is precious. just tell us -- you talk about relevance. use it at a lawyer were to issue the subpoena they would have some concerns. i just want us to be clear it sounds like what i've said before you seem to have an
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understanding and we seem to have an understanding and they don't seem to be the same. so are you going to provide the documents? that were subpoena? >> yes. >> and how long will that take? >> i know it is going to take several weeks. i asked that question yesterday simply for the category that we are all working on. to redact those would take several weeks longer. it would take longer than that but we will provide them and with regards notwithstanding -- the congressman has now departed and we are not going to comply. we are going to comply. we never said we wouldn't. we are simply trying to help refine the search so that in fact we can get this done in sometime in the near future if that is this year but at the race that we are going if it is noted by an earlier question, if you want all the categories of all the applications of everybody who has been through the process in the last four years, we can do that and we
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will do that but it's going to take years. >> thank the gentleman for your questions. but hopefully we all understand that asking for all the e-mails, the ones using to the least willing to put first are the the ones that probably have no 6103. they are very quick to go through and someone simply looks and says she is talking to an outside team. by definition there cannot be a 6103. >> all the ones that are easier easy the ones that are difficult or difficult and there are more of the difficult ones than we would like. >> the ones the gentle man was asking for before he had to leave were the ones that were not being given which by definition very often are easy. >> i would note for the record about we are talking about redacting the house ways and means committee and the senate finance committee because they don't have to be redacted area there is no question about the response. >> thank you.
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just to take this from the top usually depends on the importance of the information that we seek and also the danger that we are trying to expunge and i have to admit that there is a deficit of trust between the congress, many of its members and the irs on this issue and that is because on its face, there has been an admission here that the irs come a very powerful government agency has inappropriately targeted that united states citizens for enhanced scrutiny. some would say harassment and denial of the statutory constitutional human rights based on their own political views. that's why my colleagues are
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after this information. that's why many of us on this site are after this information. so, it is incredibly important. so when we say we need all of the e-mails in a normal circumstance and in a normal case, you might have a judge say that overly broad. but in this case whether the taxpayer was 18 party or were occupied, the irs a very powerful agency with a lo with f information and a lot of individuals is now targeting or has been targeting u.s. citizens. that is some serious stuff. and i think that justifies the scope of this committee's inquiry and the urgency that we get to the bottom of this. now, that is not just -- that's not just good for republicans and democrats, that is good for our democracy.
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so, this is a very, very serious issue. you know, the congressional government would robles and described the oversight function of congress as follows. he said quite as important as legislation is vigilant oversight of the administration. it is the proper duty of the representative body to look diligently after every affaires of government to talk about how to talk much about what it sees. it's much to be the eyes and the voice and to embody the wisdom and the will of its constituen constituency. it's too informed the american people it's imperative we as legislators and the committee conduct robust oversight. when we've received reports that a powerful government agency has subjected american citizens to assess the scrutiny based on unwarranted and unjustified. no american citizen should have the constitutional rights withheld by the government on the basis of the political
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affiliation simply because they've criticized the way that the government is being run. to support the extensive investigations objected by the committee into the targeting of certain applicants for the tax-exempt status. now, regrettably this information has been guided primarily by politics and partisanship rather than a genuine commitment to fully inform the american people as to how the troubling events at the irs unfolded. we have routinely released to the american public only partial excerpts of the transcripts from the transcribed interviews conducted by both of the steps into the chairman again released a staff report on the committee's investigation without soliciting the import from our side of the aisle after dia and a request by the ranking
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member to share that report with democratic members. so, i understand the importance of this inquiry. i really do. i think it's incredibly important, but i also think that we have missed the opportunity here because of the chairman's very partisan one-sided approach to this hearing. and i think that it has hurt the american people because i think it is incredibly important that we get to the bottom of this. but because it is being fumbled, this opportunity is being fumbled we are not getting the answers that we need. but i do support that they have to be very broad and deep because of the danger that we are trying to exercise here. we do not target people because of their political views because
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they complained about the government. i complain about the government and i'm part of the government. that is a freedom that we need to protect into the recent approach as threatening the very freedom that is a danger that we have to be together and a pose on both sides of the aisle. >> we now go to the gentleman on michigan. >> are you aware that your predecessor doug shulman in a testimony to congress in march of 2012 gave strong assurances that the irs was not targeting the conservative tax-exempt status click >> i am aware of that. the statement where he said he testified, quote, first let me start by saying yes i can give you assurances. as you know we pride ourselves
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on being a nonpolitical and nonpartisan organization. so there is absolutely no targeting. this is the kind of back-and-forth that happens when people apply for the five z. 50. >> but was the statement accurate? >> the statement may have been very accurate at the standpoint that he knew, the standpoint of the improper use of the criteria obviously as the inspector general noted in the determination process and inappropriate criteria. >> was its complete and forthcoming as it should have been? i don't know what mr. schulman new. i don't know what he knew or didn't know.
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>> from your perspective was the information -- boss what he thought but what you know right now. >> as a result of the report i know that inappropriate criteria was used to select organizations for renewing the determination process. >> can you give assurances? and i refer back to my colleague from ohio when h he lifted a number of agencies and entities that have great concern about what has gone on that we know now took place such as homeschool. i am a life member of the association. i'm a member of harley owners group. i am an nra charter member. the tea party member here in congress by questions as can you give us assurances here and now that the irs is no longer targeting conservatives are
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treating thweretreating the cons differently than any other applicants. i am confident that the agency is committed to not discriminating against any organization or any individual no matter what their organizational capacity. but their political beliefs, who they voted for in the last election to deal you have the right and i agree with the further comments you have the right to assume and need to be protected to assume to be treated the same way everyone else. >> i don't know how he ran the argument. i've been in the 16 of the largest offices. i've listened personally to over 7,000 employees. and my message to them has been that going forward we need to have information flow from the bottom of the organization to the top and if there is a problem, i need to know about it. >> let's go with that, the testimony that you took.
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>> if there is a problem i don't know about it and that is my fault because i haven't created a culture where the problems and issues get raised from the frontline workers and go easily. >> what is the morale of the front-line workers now? >> is surprisingly better than i would have expected in light of what has happened to the federal employees and the irs for the last year. i found professional, dedicated, energetic employees focused on the mission of the agency, the overriding concern is that we don't have enough people to allow them to provide the services and the taxpayers that they feel. >> they ought to feel that way because they have the situations that didn't allow them to do the jobs that they are expected to do but rather to target the conservative groups. >> i would be of low morale and i'm glad to hear you say that it's coming up that we have spoken with several employees during the course of this investigation and they told us
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lowest lerner's announcement was responsible for the conduct of the nuclear strike to that and i would assume that you would agree from what you've heard. >> my view of running the organization is not some deals this problem. we will work on it together and my sense would never be that it's not my responsibility. anything that happens in that organization is my response ability. >> was it difficult in getting information what are we hiding at the irs? >> you answered a question partially. essentially was at cincinnati or was it lowest lerner in washington fax did you reach a conclusion on whether this was in fact low-level people in cincinnati or in fact lowest lerner and possibly others in washington that were responsible for what effectively became targeted tax >> i haven't done the
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independent investigation. i'm looking forward to the reports. >> but you agree with the ig report that found but essentially it wasn't low-level people in cincinnati. >> i agree with the report in >> i agree with the report in terms of the recommendations in the early one but i've stress to the committee that we have in fact adopted all of the recommendations. my commitments to people applying for applications is whether the c-4, five, six or seven would be treated fairly no matter who they are. whatever the names of your organization, you deserve to be treated fairly and on the same basis of everyone else. >> if only that were true. >> thank you mr. chairman and commissioner. i know that we have gone over and under the whole issue of the
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document request, but i want to make sure that i understand as well as i can what the issues are. the chairman says that he wants all of lowest lerner's e-mails, not just the ones related to the c-4 and not just the ones related to the tax-exempt applications. that's all of her e-mails. obviously this would include e-mails that have absolutely nothing to do with our investigation. in other words, the committee is going to what i would call the math and even threatened in contempt of what everyone agrees are irrelevant e-mails. i don't think this makes any sense. and this is not what the ways and means committee did. the ways and means committee works with you to identify that
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e-mails that are relevant to the investigation is that correct? and if you are required to produce all of the e-mails, you would have to examine each and every e-mail for private taxpayer information covered by 6013. >> that's correct. that is why we were able to provide the finance committee with all of those e-mails fast like and it's going to take us several weeks for the e-mails going forward. >> and of course you cannot provide the committee with that information and you would have to react it. >> that's correct. >> if i understand this by definition, the internal revenue service would be wasting time and money producing documents that will not fulfill any
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investigative purpose. would you say that that is correct? >> that is what we have been concerned about. >> i kind of grew up with the idea that you don't get much from riding a dead horse to death. that it already died. if everything that you can get out has already been gotten, then you are wasting time to continue. i think that we should reconsider this misguided approach. we should go back to the standard investigative procedures and develop search terms that are relevant in stead of this other method that fears to be nothing more than a fishing expedition trying to connect some decisions to the
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white house or to some place that did not exist. i was very pleased to hear you indicated that the morale among the irs employees is at a level beyond which one might have expected. what would be the best utilization of your time? to make sure that it stays where it is and to go up rather than being bowed down within relevant -- your relevant time? >> with the six investigations going on it is to try to produce the information as quickly as we can in an order that will allow the committees to investigate and to conclude there investigation because one of the important things for not only restoring the public confidence
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in the irs about the morality to come to closure on these issues. whatever i've said from the start, whatever the facts are that each of the investigators find we will review and respond appropriately to and move forward. no one has more interest in including these investigations promptly in an orderly way than i do with the employers on the e irs. which is why we will continue. he tried to provide information and work with the staff of the investigators to provide the information they need and the most appropriate order. ultimately, as i've said, whatever ultimately whatever information the committee wants committee have the right to get. the question is how long is that going to take. and can we get to the most relevant information at the front end so that you can in fact do your work. >> thank you very much. i yield back mr. chairman. >> i recognize the gentleman from tennessee. >> i have ten seconds of your time? >> i might go fo note for the rd in the case of lowest lerner we
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delayed bringing her back in the hopes that we would get all of the e-mails. and obviously we didn't have them. she took the fifth ten more times and we are very disappointed. we made that very clear. i can't imagine the law-enforcement agency or judge saying that relevant to the present government, communication would be irrelevant. i would think the gentleman. >> commissioner, thank you for being here today. we have had several commissioners in our prisons since the story broke. they would not acknowledge the wrongdoing have taken place and they wouldn't apologize to the american people for what had happened. they did say something has gone wrong here and apologize to the american people. so i was encouraged to hear you say that what you do now you bb
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the inappropriate criteria was useused to target a specific organization so at least we are at the point we did acknowledge that something did go wrong. correct? >> yes. inappropriate criteria were used i don't think i use used the wod target but i acknowledged that applications were delayed unnecessarily and for too long. >> just a housekeeping item i was on the district last week and rachel who is a treasurer of the breakfast rotary club is sending a letter to the irs to ask for a 501(c)3 organization that will help alleviate childhood hunger and i can tell you don't think the group will be targeted or delayed. >> i can guarantee it won't be used in any way. way. the delays are different. one of the big challenges as a result of other things going on, we built a backlog in the area that we are progressively
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dealing with. our goal ultimately especially for the smaller and local organizations is to have a streamlined process that will be up and running by june. so i can guarantee appropriate consideration. i wish i could promise right now it would be very quick. by the end of the year we are going to be in a better shape of processing. >> i'm sure that they will be happy to hear that. our colleague earlier called this a political witchhunt. >> i made no judgments about the investigations going on. i think it's important for the public to feel satisfied that there is a thorough investigations and i would like to see them concluded. we will play the hand that we are dealt. >> do you think this will handicap the process when the officials announced that there wouldn't be any criminal charges in this investigation into this of course is already that the witnesses had been questioned or the president goes on tv on super bowl sunday and announces
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that there isn't corruption in the irs. can you agree with any of those knowing what you know now and knowing and depending on how you define inappropriate tactics being used? >> i haven't done any independent investigation. there are people across the political spectrum in congress and outside of congress making judgments about what happened. my view is i'm waiting for them to be concluded. we will respond. >> you heard from a colleague in the opening statement he laid out a good timetable for anyone listening out how this has gone down. do you understand the timetable and does that give you concern? >> i understand the timetable but you have documents -- the purpose of the final report is you would have a committee report you would come up with the facts as he found them.
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there may or may not be a bipartisan report. we will have several investigative report and when they are done we will know what the consensus is that what happened and more important it's important for the public to know we've adopted all of the recommendations, so whatever that management was a has-been result. >> i think we are getting a little gun shy on the committee because this scandal has been referred to as phony and we know inappropriate targeting went on and i'm afraid of hillary clinton were sitting out there she would look us in the eye and say the president has always been reelected. at this point what difference does it make? >> i never said it doesn't make any difference. my position is that this was a serious issue that deserves to be treated seriously. the irs has done that and as a general matter the investigators are doing that and again i hope that as soon as possible we can come to closure, agree on what the facts were and if there are additional things that need to be done, we will do them.
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>> please get that information and we can probably wrap this up much more quickly and i thank you for your time. >> the gentle lady from california is recognized. >> commissioner, thank you. you are giving me great confidence in the work that will be transpiring relative to this evaluation. when we are responding to inquiries by this committee i'm curious of how much fraud can be unearthed within the persons within the country that don't play by the rules. some people understand that most people don't and that's why you have an enforcement unit that for every dollar you spend, you return $9 to the taxpayers of this country. i just speculate that if you had taken the 100,000 hours into the
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250 personnel that have been the voting all of the time to comply the endless request by this committee, we might actually be doing some good in terms of that iis we are also concerned about. but back to the inspectors general report we have studied over the last year the inspector general made a number of recommendations and my understanding is that you will comply with all of them and you said that in the hearing a number of times. one of the concerns the inspector general did have is that irs employees didn't have enough training and guidance to properly handle to handle the application for the tax extension. what kind of trading has been providing to the personnel to make sure that they are properly trained.
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>> we have proper training to give them better understanding about what his advocacy which has allowed for the social welfare organizations and what is the political intervention which has only allowed to the minor amount so you don't jeopardize being primarily a social welfare organization. and if so, there have been more cases developed, more examples so that people could understand better what is the dividing line between the advocacy and the political activity? i would note that there are thousands of organizations that are garden clubs and organizations and a lot of other types, so the vast majority to question has been for the training especially for new employees to try to give them a better roadmap as to what fits into which categories and how they should be approaching any application the matter what
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their political level of activity is. >> is this training also going to be provided to the screening agents? >> it is actually provided across-the-board. and as the ig recommended, we will renew that training before every election so that again, as that political activity comes up before the campaign and election, people will have a roadmap under a very foggy area as possible as to what social welfare and what's political activity which of you engage in that jeopardized exemption. >> so this training has already taken place? >> bubble that will take place as we get closer again so training if you are a new employee and if you are existing to training has taken place but as we get through closer we will do it again.
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>> i want to reiterate what i think is the problem here. here. above all ththe law that passedf you want to be a 501 c-4 you have to exclusively be associated with a social welfare activity. the word was exclusively. then back in the 50s if i'm not mistaken they came up with a regulation that said you have to be primarily focused on social welfare. that violated in my view the statute and the congress passed. how can you go from being exclusively to primarily? so now we have millions upon millions of dollars trying to figure out whether or not something is primarily or exclusively. if we said we wouldn't be having these hearings.
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none of the political activity whether it is advocacy or political would be relevant because it wasn't exclusively for social welfare. and that is what the 501(c)4 should be about. it didn't meet the standards of the statute. >> with the gentle lady yield? >> i certainly will. >> i want to ask you a quick question because i agree that we should try to clarify. one of the challenges i face looking at them it's not the committee's been married or section. it belongs to the ways and means. it is one of the things i think we have to ask ourselves for example is what if the american lung association if they endorse a california initiative related to smoking and so on, which they did, is that at least a nuance of political either with u usabt partisan? the answer is they are promoting social welfare. one of the challenges with the
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team party specifically is these folks are talking about handing out constitutions and wanting to promote the constitution. many would say that's political. but if we go to evaluate it is a political to say that this is what the first amendment says and means. is it political to say this is what the second amendment says and means or in the case of the activities, the fourth amendment? that is the challenge that hopefully the gentle lady and i can work on it is a question of whether the 501(c)4 was targeted because of their political views that are infected different question and that is what's before us today. i think the gentle lady for yielding. >> the gentleman from south carolina is recognized. >> commissioner, lois lerner south where you're sitting right now and since i have broken no law, i've done nothing wrong and
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i violated no irs rules or regulations. now, as a very highly accomplished attorney like yourself, you would have to say that is pretty broad testimony, wouldn't you? that is a statement whether it is broad testimony and what that relationship is. >> though it is broad. it would have been unlimited. you mentioned it to the judge earlier what they would do. let me tell you what a judge would do with that testimony idiot you could ask about whatever you wanted to ask. when a witness says i've done nothing wrong that is tantamount to saying i've done everything right. i can think o can't think of any broader than that. necessarily the line of inquiry would also want to be broad; wouldn't you agree? >> i think it ought to be what t is no matter what people -- >> i can't help but note you think a judge would throw the subpoena out as being overly broad. >> if we were in the private
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sector, which we are not -- >> i want to make it easy for you. how long will it take to produce the e-mails that don't involve the 6103 material from january of 2010? could we have that by friday? >> absolutely not because there is no way physically. >> january of 2010. that is one month, no 6103 material. just one month. when can we get that? >> we have to go through each of those e-mails to make sure -- >> how long is that going to take? can we have it by friday? >> i have no idea. >> just one month, commissioner, january of 2010, no 6103. and let me tell you why uninterested -- >> today is wednesday. i would be happy to ask the people that do the work and get back to you. >> let's do january of 2010 and then be ambitious and february of 2010. then let's go to march of 2010 , and the reason i'm doing 2010,
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commissioner, when the president likes 5-4 supreme court decisions he calls that a subtle wall like the aca. but he doesn't like on the 5-for decisions like citizens united, he attacks it, which is what he did in january of 2010. and that's why the timeline is so important, commissioner. the jury has never been entitled to know the motive, but they always want to know the motive. you don't ever have to prove why somebody did something about the jury always wants to know why did this happen. and if you start in january of 2010 with the presidents state of the union address and then you move through lois lerner's e-mails that have nothing to do with the material can you begin to see the motive to come up. >> you're going to get 20,000 pages of documents this afternoon and some of them may well be january of 2010 but i will check with our people because if you would like us to stop the production, of lois
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lerner's e-mails coming into go to january 2010 i will go and find out. >> i want the subpoena to be complied with. i want it complied in a timely fashion. and you and i both know if there is no 6103 material whether or not you think we need something or ought to have it or that we are on a wild goose chase, frankly i could care less what you think about that. our subpoena is our subpoena. if you don't like it, move, otherwise comply with it. because you noted that the search was overly broad. i want you to tell me what search you would use to find an e-mail where an irs employee responded to when she was told that a democrat won a special election. what search term would you recommend to find that e-mail? >> we worked from -- >> what search term would you do to find an e-mail where the response was you who when a democrat won a special election?
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>> we might actually work together to see if there are search terms but were all political campaigns basic >> what search term would you use when lois lerner responded that a gop senate would be worse than a gop president? >> i would actually if you wanted to go through to the political parties and references to elections, gop -- >> or we can do this, just give us all of the e-mails she sent or received in january 2010 that don't involve the material and what you think is relevant or not. of irs regulations and have broken no law that is pretty broad. there is a discussion for the last four which is out of the universe but i what is it that u
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think would be most important? that will take you more than this year. >> i just told you january of 2010 because that's when the supreme court issued its opinion and citizens united. that's when the president of the united states famously to their faces in the state of the union criticized back home and that's when lois lerner began to say the irs can't fix it we need a plan. we need to be cautious and we need to make sure that it isn't political. but start with january the 2010. can we have that by friday? >> as i said i'm delighted and it is this kind of discussion, for instance, -- >> can i respond? with four years worth of applications, we might be able to say well which ones would you like so that we don't spend three years. january, 2010 is a perfectly understandable definition command -- >> as quickly, commissioner, you
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need to understand our perspective. >> maybe to start it all as an investigation into the targeting of the c-4. but when you have people that are supposed to be apolitical responding the way that she has responded, tea party dangerous, maybe they will save the day he have to make sure that it is not political. when you have people in positions of responsibility that are expressing overtly the commentary on the government e-mail i think we ought to be entitled to all of them i would note for the record you already have all of those e-mails. >> if we don't know what we don't know, we know the ones we have. >> we will go to january -- >> here's the point. there are 2400 employees in the chief counsel's appointment. a bunch of those are lawyers. they said it is not in the public, this is about the free speech rights political speech
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rights. whawhat we've all been saying is take some of those lawyers committee, those lawyers and get every single e-mail that lois lerner sent, start with januar january 2010 and go through as quickly as possible and get them to this committee and it's not just republicans, he wants that some o,the ranking member said s that. make it a priority. you're still telling us it's going to take forever. we don't want the excuses anymore. prioritize it. what mormore lawyers on the jobe 2400 in the chief counsel's office assigned someone to do what he's asked for. >> this has been a priority. >> we are talking about the first amendment. you're not working fast enough. it's that simple. this is fundamental. we've all said it, get on the job.
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>> we have 89,000 employees that have nothing to do with this doing very important work for the government and we have 10,000 fewer employees than four years ago so it's not a question of just pushing the switch. >> you know, the gentleman the commissioner said he's willing to produce the documents. we have almost every member asking for the documents. one of the things i'm saying is that we need to be very clear at the end of this hearing that we do but apparently you have done to make sure that we are clear on what we want because different people are saying different things. we will end up right where we are so we need clarity. the chairman wants certain things, i want certain things.
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we need to have a meeting of the mind of exactly what we are trying to get. one of the mistakes we are making we are beating up on him and he is trying to cooperate and give us what we want but again he has his own restrictions so i went to make sure he says he's willing to give us what we want and we now have to be clear about what we want to expect i would say to the ranking member i think we have been. >> no, no, no. all means all. because if we let any type of restriction happen, any type of parameters to be set, then they are determining what we get and the american people won't be able to get everything. that's why -- >> so, therefore hopefully this will be helpful, so now do you understand that, and i see that chairman of the committee is in
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agreement with what was just said to you understand that? >> what they want is something that is going to take years to produce. what they want is documents, and again our point is not that we are not going to get it we are just telling you it's not going to happen overnight. we tried to prioritize. first we have the documents of the ways and means. we try to prioritize. we said we would provide them into the first priority was to say this. we've given them to the ways and means him to the extent i said it was helpful. the month but we are interested in the canned prioritize those and it doesn't mean we won't give you the rest of the month but this doesn't happen overnight. it's not a question of another 150 people to become 6103 experts overnight. we have a team -- we aren't a document production team organization. >> if the gentleman would yield, in the foreseeable future there is only one person you have to work with on priorities, and
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that would be the people working for the committee and i will work with them. .. the committee and i will work with them. when mr. gowdy said he is very interested in january, so am i. i want to attach my comments to the ranking member here to the greatest extent possible. we don't want to be overly burdensome. we do, mr. lynch and others, certain individuals want all the e-mails. of your six investigations, there's only two that you have to do 6103 for. you don't do 6103 for senate finance or ways and means. and i'm assuming the justice department has a way to fast track getting what they want. ou, of the two entities, us and one of the challenges we have watched reagan negotiate to get less than all of lois lerner e-mailshe

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