tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN March 28, 2014 6:00pm-8:01pm EDT
work with on priorities, and 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-mails when in fact six months
ago you could have pumped out of all of lois lerner e-mails and dumped them on senate finance and ways and means. you did not do that. the eventually negotiated to my consternation a subset of all of her e-mails. i find it less than helpful and i find you're talking about reduction in time to inappropriate when you could've given ways and means all lois lerner e-mails in a matter of seconds. it really is that simple and i assume they have access to them. so i appreciate we will have to work with you to prioritize and we willingly always have. in the mek's of the document production in which there are massive numbers of potential documents, we will particularly prioritize. for today for the record on behalf of people on both sides
have spoken, lois lerner e-mails, all of lois lerner e-mails is the highest current priority of this committee and will remain so as long as i'm chairman. so i'm not going to get into january. i believe if your team had been actively working in a matter of days he would have given us substantially all of lois lerner e-mails and within a matter of a couple weeks have given us the ones that required the redaction. i know this based on how long it took my people to hand read the e-mails we got. >> i would just say that's not the information i have. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'm going to take something the chairman said and i hope he doesn't mind in his out of context. all means all. i'm going to go back to none means none. i want to talk about the exclusivity requirements of 501(c)(4)s and the fact we
don't do that. i would do another members have done and i hope you'll take me back to the baseline again. so commissioner, your agency administers how 501(c)(3)s are treated under the tax code, correct? >> correct. >> under federal statutes, cannot engage in any political activity, correct? >> that's correct. >> how much do charities ban on partisan political campaign activities in the last presidential election? >> i assume none. >> i hope that's true. i'm assuming it fits your dollars as well. you also administered social welfare organization 501(c)(4)s. >> correct. >> under federal statute, laws that congress passes, we get very excited for the administrations and others don't follow the laws of the road that
congress passes. we said congress for social welfare organizations must operate exclusively for the promotion of social welfare, correct? >> correct. >> and political campaign activities are not a c-4 -- >> campaign activities support individual candidates are not social welfare activities. >> exactly what i mean. they can do advocacy in an asset again. created our baseline. how much did social organizations depend on political candidates campaign activities in 2012? >> quite a bit. i have no idea what the final number is. >> me tell you it's pretty close to a quarter billion dollars. a quarter billion dollars on political campaign activities in 2012. the social welfare organization to slow their donors behind this
quarter billion dollars. they must exclusively promote social welfare under federal law they spent hundreds of millions of dollars while keeping their donors secrets. >> correct. >> social welfare organizations are blatantly violating federal law. doesn't make sense to me and i don't think it makes sense to most people here. but will it take for the irs to enforce federal statutes for social welfare and the nation just as you successfully have done for charities so that social welfare organization are exclusively promoting social welfare agendas and not their partisan political agendas. does it take another act of congress? >> at a minimum it would take a new set of regulations under 501(c)(4). as you know the regulation adopted in 1959 provides the social welfare organization only
has to be primarily involved. >> i have to tell you i don't understand not. the law is clear. in my mind completely in violation and i'm a little worried although i've got to build that proposes to do that, require the irs to follow the federal and not make decisions after-the-fact that are some interpretation that i've got a dictionary. none means none yet i need to know that another act of congress would actually be taken seriously and be followed exactly as the law says. we pass another law. will the irs followed up? >> will follow that law appeared really fishy regulation for interpreting and applying laudably this seems to be most effective. >> assert they don't want to push you into -- you didn't make it come up with this regulation on your own, but in fact they don't understand how any regulation could be interpreted to allow up to 49% for the law
says you must do exclusively social welfare. because my bill clarifies that so we should do because i want to ensure the political money is disclosed in a way that is supposed to be. i can't believe really that we are here, but i'm encouraging the irs because i don't think we should be doing the regulatory work acus exclusively means exclusively. given the reality that this did occur, i encourage you to implement a regulation that complies with the federal statute, ensures a social welfare groups do not engage in politically unities. instead of continuing to debate how you'd go about identifying what constitutes political activity and continue on a debate like this about what might have gone wrong, if it went wrong. i suggest you go back to what the law said you must do and go back to exclusive and not allow social welfare organization
doing gauge in any partisan campaign activity. >> i say no to come the draft regulation asked for public comment on three issues. one is whether the definition of political activity, how much should you be allowed to do without jeopardizing tax exemption and what organization should it apply? without comments it will have a public hearing in the issue about how much is appropriate will be available for comment and in a final regulation will have to deal with that. >> thank you very much. i realize i'm out of time. i disagree there's still a lot to be any effort not to hold them accountable based on what the federal law says. but that, mr. chairman, i yield. >> mr. commissioner, i'm a dentist. i'm not an attorney, so i want to talk about leadership and how we do things efficiently. i have a patient that when they come in i want to note the
storyline, true? >> you want to do what? >> i do a diagnosis. i want to do storyline. i want to figure out what the story is. in your world it's called discovery. >> if you're interested in finding out what the problem is, you would actually -- >> it makes sense that you would create a storyline, don't you think? my colleague over their asked. >> i'm not quite sure. if i were doing an investigation, i would want to know the facts were before it develops a storyline. >> you base the facts off inquiry like documents like all of this stuff with all these redacted comments. you want to start at the beginning of the storyline. you don't want to start in the middle. most authors will start in the beginning of an instance in the forward, right? and it takes leadership to direct troops are direct people within the iris to do so, would
you think? >> sure come it takes leadership to direct employees. >> i think if i'm doing my job, i want to create a storyline to facilitate this oversight committee, true? make it easy? >> i'm not sure what you mean by storyline. >> you want to make sure you are presenting this in a rational manner that allows us to do her job. >> yes, i've made it clear to our employees that a priority is to cooperate with the investigations come to get the documents as quickly as we can to them and to the extent there voluminous, try to figure out what the priority is. >> out quechee right there because the comments i keep hearing here is the storyline. i can tell my employees they need an x-ray of this, this sadness and they go off on tangents. it's not efficient in giving us documentation in which we want to learn, true?
>> i'm going back to the storyline. the storyline starts at the beginning of the story, right? mr. gaudi asked, don't you think it's important that we start in january? does that not make sense? you rationally put this together and you want to have oversight of this committee so you much but the storyline together in a rational manner. you can do all you want. throw stuff at us and take a lot of time. seems like more efficiently from directory of your position that you would direct employees to say let's start at the beginning. debut out the information information starting in january. >> we didn't do that i wouldn't do that. we sat down with the committee sends dotson said what would you -- what documents, how should research them? we took the storyline from you all. >> when we said we want lois
lerner, oliver e-mails the comment for me would have been if i majestically thinking that someone choreographing the story, where would she like finisterre? >> with lois lerner comedy ideas if it's a good place to start, ultimately as i said we provided already have it or this afternoon. >> you're running around and around and around. i'm from the private sector. >> i spent 20 years in the private sector. >> you should know better in producing a storyline that make sense to say you are here to serve because i'm here to serve. how i make this easier to have oversight? since lois lerner didn't comply with their questions, we need all those e-mails. i want to make sure you're willing to provide, would she be interested in choreographing the start finish a bowl?
>> query via the search going on for examinations appeals in the regulatory process because that was determined to be the storyline most helpful. the next thing is january 2010 and we do that because if it were easy i'd be happy to comply with that request. the storyline is thus far other e-mails which will take us weeks to redact, the suggestion that request and we try to deal the same way start with exams appealed. >> i've got one question to ask you. is it to the iris is the missing documents at the house and congress that have different reactions? is my understanding that may have occurred. >> i have no understanding we reacted differently for anybody. 61 a three wood actions applied to everybody. >> i want to make sure that is followed up.
>> if you have other information, we'd be delighted to know why. >> prior to be nominated, did anyone from the white house approach you, ask you, todd to you about the proposed c-4 will? >> no. >> did anyone in the course before you were nominated, anyone from the administration talk to you about the proposed c-4 role? >> no. i'm just curious to hear mindset, do you view your role as commissioner of the internal revenue service is an independent role already part of treasury, mr. should, how do you view your role as head of the commission or the irs? >> the iris is the division of the bureau department of treasury, but it runs independent of service tax administration. i view it as a critical issue. we set a standard that the irs should be -- >> an independent agency, not a
political agency at all. >> when you prepared your testimony, did you and the people at the iris repair that were someone from the industry should and treasury help you? >> testimony for today? >> testimony submitted. >> i prepared it. >> i want to put up a couple slides here. this is a letter to chairman dave camp receives one month ago from -- [inaudible] >> okay, okay, i'll wait. ms. norton was talking with the chairman. i thought i would use the time of the ranking member. i'd be happy to you. if you let me go, i'll be happy to give additional time. >> about to go because i got something as well. >> the young ladies recognize. >> i wanted to come because john koskinen is a good and old friend. the red mosque altogether. he turns out to be the ministers
a job in the government that can be done, they call on john koskinen. this is one of those jobs. >> eleanor started law school as a very young person. i was older. >> i do want to say that the committees of session with lois lerner i think could've been avoided when i asked the attorney able to testify and i think a lot of the e-mails would've come out. the point is to find out the truth. it seems to me at least it would've got through a lot of that they are. i do want to clear up something about the so-called list. i looked at with the idea had found. i am intrigued and i think the record needs to show this. it is clear that the ig found they had used inappropriate for
the so-called list, be on the lookout list. but he also asked, is it not true that high-level management was not involved. the iris people do these things all the time. they did not know, only purslane management knew about the references to tea party. and so the state in place. is that not the case? >> that is the ig's report, yes. >> then, the ig later found that lois lerner was excessive subject of these hearings, didn't even learn about these inappropriate criteria until a year later. the violinist to be eliminated and again, is this interesting, the lack of oversight, these
workers went back to it because they couldn't figure out a way to deal with the issues discussed earlier, which is how do you know which are not in so they went back to bed and when the irs learned they were using this criteria, they then said he'll have to have executive approval. what impressed me was that your predecessor has gone me on the notion of getting executive approval and he said there is to be no more use of these beyond the list. is that correct, commissioner, that the iris no longer uses these beyond the lookout list for anybody at anytime? >> that's correct. >> said they've gone further.
the irs has gone further than the ig asked to go. as i understand it, the irs can now comply with or is in the process of complying with all of the recommendations of the ig, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> i must tell you, john koskinen, if you want to find out anymore, but i would do from go through thousands of more e-mails is to go through the e-mail of lois lerner attorney to find out what she would have testified and get closer to the truth and eliminate some of the need for some of the e-mails. thank you very much for agreeing to do this job.
>> mr. collins. >> thank you, mr. chairman. a lot has been said about e-mails. we'll talk about that in a minute. one of the issues they really hate that dyer here of people not understanding when it is portrayed and when it is put out that the irs has done something that was wrong, and i was misguided, there's terms i've heard you use today. this is what has drawn the parallel of looking at government and not trusting that. the fact that if we started off on our getting worse and were obfuscating and kicking back in 89 replies and what are these definitions? people don't get that. to come to this committee for either one of us to say simply we are going to rydberg could not now, people don't get that. this actually is from a few
weeks ago, groups on the left and right are tired. they don't get this. but i do have some questions. you officially took over when? >> i started on december 23rd. >> he started december 23rd. are you familiar up to date the first subpoena issued to the commissioner? >> the first subpoena. >> first subpoena went to the secretary of the treasury. >> that was in august. >> yes it was. >> you were issued a subpoena on february 14, correct? >> correct. >> at what stage did you find the complaints to the first subpoena when he took over in september? >> i was not familiar with it a must-have focus. it went to the treasury department. when it was being worked on in the irs to when you get to speed on february 14, are you saying
basically we started over to answer the subpoena you got? >> no, turns out we had already provided significant information on all of the categories of the subpoena. at february subpoena asked what? >> of your subpoena asked for all e-mails, all documents related -- >> a significant mean all? >> now, we provided -- we said we'll continue to work with the committee to provide other documents. >> this is where it gets to the point of understanding because this has not been discussed in the last three months. this has been going on for coming up a year now it has been discussed and understood and talked about, especially as it had targeted around several individual, lois lerner been one of them that is is not a storyline. it's the factors information wanted to come information
requested and you made a statement earlier and said the public needs to feel satisfied about what's going on. do you think we are satisfied right now? >> public will be very satisfied with this committee issues its report. >> one of the issues as they feel like they're not getting -- you said you get this as soon as possible. i believe that's what the chairman said earlier. make this a priority. witnessing to me to me if you want to provide an icq at your word, you want to provide all, this would be something you would get off the table as quickly as possible and i'm not sure we buy the fact it's going to take this reduction because most of it might not need redacting. >> i didn't say that. others have said that. >> everyone has to be reviewed to see whether it has to be redacted. every document -- >> i think the problem here is you bought into a position in which the trust level is zero.
and now for this committee has asked for a document and it's not a matter of what we are going to redact. the people don't trust anymore. with my last-minute, i will yield to the gentleman from ohio. he had a question. when it gets us off off the table. >> i thank the gentleman for yielding. i don't off i have enough time to get through the material. the commissioner would yield back to the gentleman. >> with that, mr. commissioner, i take you at your word, but we don't talk about holding anything else when i go home except irs, but as the come of these other issues that people feel like they're not getting answer on and they are tired of these hearings in which we say we are getting to it, coming around to it. especially when they're asked for it and demanded answers to the irs or others on a different
timeline. it's time to get this done. >> with the gentleman yield? >> the gentleman will always feel. >> every time you go back and talk about $6 million of new computer equipment in the time it takes to redact, i am reminded the ways and means is only a week ago was still negotiated to try and get subsets of information when in fact there is no reduction necessary. he could just do a computer dump on them. very clearly he did not use that $6 million of new equipment to grab all the e-mails and just send them over, but in fact your agency and treasury was slow rolling wave senate finance exactly the same way as your slow rolling us without the use of redacting. the night that an improper characterization. we've been working for priorities trying to figure out how we can get the significant information they think is significant as quickly as we can. it's going to take time. it has taken time. there's no higher priority than providing documentation.
oversimplifying how easy it is doesn't help us very much. pokorny faster. we are committed to cooperating. i said earlier to the extent we can work with you identify with in a broad range what you would like first, were happy to do it. doesn't mean we will give you other stuff later. with ways and means we never said that's all you're going to get. we say here is where we are. what else would be helpful to you? with us to your name? >> very productively for over year and i still don't have it all. that says a lot with no reduction required. >> thank you, mr. chairman. commissioner, i went to get in that timeframe. if you have someone where the irs is requiring document from an individual, audit or whatever, is it inexcusable excuse to say they don't have the time and it's going to take
a year or two to get the information come is that a permissible excuse to not give the iris documentation? >> way about is the large corporations and it takes years. >> i came to you and that probably commissioner, it's going to take a long time. at what point does the irs say that's not okay? >> we say that after we understood what your circumstances where if there's a legitimate reason to take time. there's no way we would ask you to do something you couldn't do. >> isao take years to get to the information according to your testimony a few times ago. >> with regard to the documentation about applications for four years, my understanding is it's going to take years. >> we're talking about lois lerner, all of her e-mails, how long would that take? >> i can tell you is the redacted version dosh >> let me change. let me ask this. at what point should this committee have told you and your
agency and contempt for not complying? what is the timeline? >> the timeline is whenever you think you could actually sustain that and a quarter. we have a strong case we've been cooperative cummock to need to be cooperative and anybody looking at the systems we have the time it takes would find we provided you more cooperation than might be expected. i think arguing unthreatening contention that situation without understanding circumstances is not going to be held. >> well, i appreciate your opinion. i can tell you the people i represent, they believe you are stonewalling. this testimony today is an indication because you thought over and over again of trying not to answer the questions that many of my colleagues have answered. but they go on to another. february 3rd company made an announcement you are going to reinstate bonuses to the tune of $62.5 million give those back in georgia and and a decision made on july 29.
on march 5th, secretary lou testified before the senate finance committee said the senior managers who are anywhere in the chain of command who exercised bad judgment in the running of the program are no longer they are, implying they would not get a bonus. what do you agree they didn't get a bonus? anybody could've been involved in this targeting did not get a bonus? >> this is not a bonus pool. a performance award for goes to bargaining unit employees. >> anybody involved in the targeting to that may make it specific. any alternate targeting did not get a bonus, is that correct? yes or no? >> i've never said there was targeting. view that they clarify -- >> i am saying the ig found -- >> what did you say? you're the one here testifying.
>> i've said this committee and five other investigations will tell us what the facts are. i've made no judgment. i've made no investigation. >> anybody who might have been involved in what i call targeting, did they get a bonus? >> they would not have been eligible. i don't notice of the bargaining unit. >> somebody involved in this could've gotten a bonus? >> their front-line employees in the exempt organization. >> what about senior-level management employees? those bonuses cannot do $1,020,000 per employee. did anyone that could have potentially been involved in these decisions and bad practices, could they have gotten a bonus? >> not to my knowledge. none of them are there. >> let me ask you, how do you make that definitive of a statement if the investigation is not done? >> because we don't know who's involved unless you're making an assumption of guilt or innocence.
so how would you know that? >> i would know that because you've given us a list of everybody you thinks involved. we've gone through the production of documents. if somebody involved -- >> so your testimony here today is everybody we've identified is innocent? that's your testimony? >> u.s. whether they got bonuses. i said nobody who was there got a bonus. whether innocent or not i'm waiting for the results of the investigation. >> so you can't assure us they didn't get bonuses because you don't know who they are? >> as i can clarify the gentleman fanfare, correct me if i'm wrong, if we have identified individuals as people of our specific inquiry, those names come and commissioners saying he knows they did not give bonuses. >> that correct. >> obviously, there may be others involved. i can see the commissioners point. >> i thank the chairman. i yield back. the mac thank you, mr. chairman.
i've been here all day or all morning listening to you and the questions be announced and somehow i feel like i should've came in here with pusan because we are lucky not a chicken coop. that's what it feels like. trying to get to the truth, the hardest thing to find in washington. he made no investigation. you've been here for months, correct? working for the iris performance. may no investigation, yet he said we have six investigations going. i think that should've been the first thing on your list. i've heard the opposing side savers and in the light of money on this investigation. why? i can't help but think our brothers and sisters in uniform fight for this country on the beaches in the jungles and the freedoms guaranteed by the constitution and the irs takes
that -- must not be very important to them. freedom of speech is very dear to my heart as is the rest of the constitution. i fought in two wars for it. i don't care how much it costs to tnt to those freedoms and i'd like to thank the chairman and the committee for spending so much time and energy on this. but i'm going to cut through everything because i don't really believe you when you say 20,000 pages and it's going to take years to get e-mails. >> i didn't say this about e-mails. it would take years if you want all of the c-4 applications in all the documents. >> talking about e-mails i never said it would take years. >> i know students in my high school could probably go and
therefore you. i bet they could make 6103 determination spirit >> what i am looking for a big e-mails from lois lerner. every page has to be looked at to make sure there's no amen. from the other committee didn't have to do that. we could get it for unavailable. i have some quick questions. informants you haven't done any investigation, but i know you've talked to people in her office and asked him some tough questions are not coming forth with us today. >> that's not true. not true. and your opinion, were conservative groups prior to the presidential election? >> all i know is what the ig found -- >> what do you know? in your opinion do you believe the irs -- >> i've not taken an opinion on
this. >> did lois lerner plan, organize or target groups and cooperation at the suggestion of our members of the senate or white house staff? >> i have no information about that. >> you've been there for months? he said he was a serious issue in their six investigations. you think you ask your people directly those questions. >> would've asked by people is that we implemented and accepted the ig's recommendation to solve whatever management problem for the system to make sure whatever have been never happens again. that's what i think my job is to take the innovation, man is it going forward. my job is to not aggregate time. my job is to make sure we can assure the american public that whoever deals with the irs, no matter what their political background, what church they go to come up with they voted for will be treated fairly. that's what my responsibility is. that's what i think i have an obligation for the american taxpayers to do.
>> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> i would like to yield for the gentleman. >> and we could go back to her a few minutes ago, mr. commissioner, you indicated you view your role is independent from anyone in the white house. you indicated your testimony you prepared, you put together an event from some of that when we started the hearing. i want to point out a couple things i find interesting. let's go to slide one if we could. this is a letter from alastair disdain, assistant treasury secretary to dave camp for one month ago. and then we have your testimony from today, march 26, a month later, second sight they are coming your testimony, seven or eight pages. and then i want to go to page seven of your testimony, next
site if i could. this is what i find interesting. this is your testimony side-by-side from a paragraph that the treasury without determined camp. this language is even closer than earlier when i asked about the proposed questions and similarities they are. this is basically word for word. take the first one. numerous reports with post-regulation. then you talk about the first draft regulation does not restrict political speech. mr. alastair's ladder, exacting language. second, exacting language. we'll give you a copy of this. go to the next slide if we could. this is all talking about the rule. >> draft regulation. what i want to know is if your independent, if you put together
your testimony, what is to read word for word what the treasury sent to chairman camp? it seems to me either plagiarism or contradicts what you told me earlier they prepared your own testimony and you're an independent agency. >> i respond on my time. i wrote this testimony. i read a letter to chairman camp. i didn't have any role in drafting it. the points you raise are good points and i thought it was important to put that in my testimony. it's important for people to understand these draft regulations are open to public comment. i have an open mind, but it's important for people to understand people can engage in political or dignity anyway they would like. they engage in political activity. whatever regulation may come up with is not focused on and
should not be focused on keeping people from doing whatever they want elsewhere. it is focused on what should 501(c)(3) four, five, six and seven be able to do would not be able to do. the letter to the chairman seemed to be accurately portrayed. >> the gentleman -- i apologize, the gentleman from florida, mr. desantis. >> thank you, mr. chairman. if you right now had a sack on the table they are of every e-mail to, from or that copy lois lerner and although 61 of three information is redacted, would you have any problem delivering those e-mails to us immediately? >> no. >> so it is basically about the process and the burden of getting the e-mails. you don't have a set of objections to the fact we want this information? >> no.
>> do you know how long it would take to just pull those e-mails and mentioned? go to the 6103. just give the e-mails, most likely in electronic forms, do you have any idea how long the first ever take? >> i do not. >> and you find out a report back to us? my understanding is that part would not take very long. so you have no idea as you say here how many of these e-mails in all lois lerner even exist. >> i have no idea. that's correct. >> you can't say go with through the documents for 61 of three information would necessarily be burdensome because we just don't know how many e-mails are talking about, correct? >> that's correct. the burden of getting you to redacted versions of her e-mails, exams, the regulatory process is going to take several weeks. >> for example, we do know there may be 50 e-mails you understand
the e-mails. how long it would take to pull them and once that is done, let us know how many were talking about. a lot of my constituents don't believe the irs has been forthright and i think that's bad going forward generally. but there's another issue i get asked about a lot but my constituents. you are not the commissioners. this is not a new one say but lois lerner basically said she didn't do anything wrong and she took the fifth amendment. we think she waved her, some people don't. put that aside. as a virus commission or committee of somebody that i rank you that calms and be asked questions about their official conduct in office, what do you do with somebody just writing your organization, what happens
to an employee going forward if someone is in a situation where they cannot discuss what they did in his official capacity? >> she doesn't work for the irs anymore. as an employee takes if it here at >> she did at the time. i know you were there, but i'm asking how you analyze the situation? with another irs official take the fifth involving some fraudulent con are not related to this investigation and it seems to not have been that kind of like okay we will reassign somebody and go when your day. a lot of my constituents look at that and they lose confidence in that official's ability to conduct their duties. >> as you know, the assertion of the fifth amendment does not in any way than to cast the guilt and innocence of the party or what they would say. so what we would do in any normal circumstances consult with our personnel people in the
gore people to see what the circumstances are and we have to take whatever action we do. anytime anybody exercises their constitutional rights, if that was grounds for dismissal, would undercut the vitality of those rights. i don't think you cannot manically say anybody whoever searched the fifth amendment on any issue without a manically have adverse personnel options. we immediately take a look. >> you think it could cause you to reevaluate the individual position and whether they can conduct their duties. the public's business if we can get answer to some of these questions, put aside what happened to them criminally. i'm just talking about the transparency that the taxpayers deserve, especially given the power of your institution that if you have people misbehaving and targeting, there's fewer organizations where that's more detrimental to freedom than the internal revenue service.
i appreciate your diligence on getting the answer on lois lerner e-mails and i yield back the balance of my time. the mac we now go to the dean of the wyoming house delegation, ms. lummis. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. koskinen, welcome to the committee. thank you for being here. >> it's been a wonderful day. >> i'm sure. i would like to ask you if you've ever met lois lerner, willie wilkins or jonathan davis. >> the only person that matters willie wilkins who is still the general counsel of the agency. >> have you ever spoken to him about tax-exempt organizations? >> tax-exempt organizations? he's been at meetings where we've talked about issues such as responding to the ig's recommendations. >> have you ever talk to him about lois lerner? >> no. >> have you ever talk to him about how the pots?
>> no. >> have you ever talked about jonathan davis? >> no. should have never talked to any of those people in terms of who they are and what they did. he's been ideas were discussed trying to comply with requests for discovery of those things have to mention, but i've never talked about any of those people individually or there will at the agency. >> two i understand correctly you are willing to respond to item one in the subpoena prior to responding to items two through eight in the subpoena? >> of lois lerner e-mails? >> as i said in january we will continue because we party started the process and its import to get the e-mails in the areas i talked about them will find out about january and will continue to work as the order and priority and what is noted, let you know how many e-mails there are in the process will be. are delighted to do that.
>> i don't buy that personally. i've heard from a number people talk about constituents being concerned and i assume and i believe those are accurate representations. whether they represent the entire public to me is that important. every individual member in every organization in the country deserves to feel comfortable to be treated fairly by the irs. my view is whether it be part of it is not the question. everyone feels confident comfortable dealing with the irs. >> when i go home as other members have stated including mr. lynch, what i hear is there is a deficit of trust. people feel they are being targeted not only for the tax-exempt organization, but from other entities within the irs. i have a constituent who has been involved in an estate matter for years since her husband died who has the irs coming and asking what are you a
bedroom furniture she has. and she is paid $50,000 to accountants to try to address the irs. that seems to me, by the way, she just happens to be a national committeewoman for the republican national committee and has contributed to republican candidates. i would inform you that there are people that believe that irs targeting has gone beyond conservative groups and the 501(c)(4)s and into other areas of the irs. i would like to inform you that deficit of trust goes beyond tax-exempt organizations and i would like you to note that when 100% of those targeted tax-exempt organizations are not to be conservative organizations and people start writing their other problems with the irs into their republican affiliation or conservative affiliation, it begins to create a connector
that situation that has created enormous deficit of trust and i appreciate your willingness to address what is coming up. i do want to yield the balance of my time to the gentleman from ohio. >> with that, look at the gentleman from ohio to four minutes to conclude. >> i appreciate it, chairman. when do you anticipate completing, looking at the comments and making a decision on the proposed rule relative to see for organizations? >> again, that is difficult to project. we have is they have a lot of comments. >> will hold a public hearing with republican members of congress can testify. if we are going to significantly change, which is possible certainly the regulation would have to republish it. as i've said in the past, it is unlikely -- >> you have an opinion on the proposed rule now prior to the comments, do you have an opinion on the wall now? do you think you're going to
stick with it or do you think you'll change? you been head of the irs. >> head of the iris, my position is to keep an open mind about the entire thing so i can look at all the comments fresh. i was to hear the regulation was drafted. i don't have a dog in that fight. any regulation that comes out to be fair to everybody. it has to be clear in a not to be used to administer. >> let me go back to where he was earlier in your testimony. you indicate you to is directly for mr. fits the latter, inserted into yours. you see that it's plagiarism? >> if i are publishing for predator one kind or another. >> do you think you should've cited work came from? from the treasury department? curiouser to me earlier was we are in. no one talked to me about c-4 rule during the nomination process. no one at the white house, no one asked me go into the confirmation process and yet, you take directly from the
treasury department their exact language regarding c-4 go comments are in your testimony in and say you're dependent. >> if i find a good idea somewhere and i think it's appropriate to put in the public domain, i'm happy to. >> and understand that. he specifically told me he did work with the treasury no one influenced your asked you anyway through the nomination process. >> if you have a very good idea -- >> we have a real good idea. guess everyone of lois lerner e-mail as soon as possible. >> we're going to work on not together. >> a thank you. we now go to mr. cummings. >> mr. chairman, this hearing has been very helpful in that i see we were able to some degree focused on the ig report.
the ig had nine recommendations and they have all been met. i want to take a moment to say to the irs employees who are watching ntu, mr. koskinen, i want to thank you for your service. you all have one of the toughest jobs in america, collecting taxes. at the same time, you have laws that you have to make sure i adhere to. when people get those letters, they're about to have an audit or they get anything for the irs accepted check, the blood pressure probably goes up a little bit.
because they are concerned. the reason why i say all of that i want to go back to some thing that, i think that when you have any kind of breach of trust, what happens if it makes everything suspect. you have come in to try to restore that trust. and it's not easy. on one hand, you come in and you take it up and i do have a lot of credit. i know you do. and now the employees hour after hour in giving blood, sweat and tears to try and make this work. but that no matter what happens, there's still a search for what
part ms. lois lerner played in this and really brought on some of her own problems, frankly. so you've got the committee tried to get to that. and in reality, it is relevant. and that is so we can figure out what happened so we make sure it doesn't happen again. so that significative. but i don't want that to take away from what you all have accomplished. because i know that it is not amusing. there's been much talk about the regulations, the proposed regulations. you know, just looking here at the recommendation of the ig and he recommended to the irs chief counsel and department of treasury for guidance on how to
measure the primary activity of irc and 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations be included for your consideration into the department of treasury. that's what the ig said. i think it may have been mr. jordan, went on and on and on about how nobody's happy. well, in my 32 years has been in public life and looking at loves, regulations, i can tell you something in the law, that's the way it is. and so, the thing that i want to make sure it does not hthe thino make sure it does not happen is that there is not a chilling effect on the irs and the job that they are to do.
i don't want them to be in a position where they become so paranoid that they don't do -- that we the congress has mandated that they do. and so, i'm hoping again the employees will do their jobs, will continue to do the best they can. hopefully an entry that they will, use their political door so that americans allover will be served through a congress intends to serve. that is everybody fairly and equally. but that, went to thank you. >> canaille? >> i would respond to the congresswoman from tennessee but even with our constrained resources, we will do 1,000,300 audits this year.
some democrats, some republicans come to some one organization, some church come to some. some will of been a meeting two months ago. it's important for us to critical for taxpayers to understand the matter who you are, what your background is coming to you with the address inquiry from us is because of something in the material you filed another treated fairly. if anybody else have the same information in the material they filed, they would get an inquiry from us. it would need more information. maybe there is a mistake. the point is well taken. if there's a decline in trust, people are going to figure out when they get a letter for the irs, why are they getting a? what i want them to be comfortable with it will take time to reassure them because it's something they filed their returns. it has nothing to do with who they are, nothing to do with what their political beliefs are, nothing to the voter for for the last election. i understand for some people that are to believe, but that is
our commitment and our goal in the years going forward. >> thank you. chairman, i yield back. >> thank you. >> ostend, chairman, it's hard not to bring your past experiences into congress. sometimes it's helpful. what i was starting a business by very first year, i was audited on my income as an army first attended. one in which the paperwork, my fledgling new account from a new firm and it turns out the auditor was a former military officer and he was horrified at received so much per diem from temporary duty. he kept saying that i never got anything like this. not possible. i was in a military experiment was an irs auditor. he was angry that i was on tv why apparently full-time except for one, today's a quarter for
years. i was within experimentation command. we were always fair. ultimately, i paid no new taxes and there wasn't a problem, but it was remarkable to me to realize that he came at the prejudice. it wasn't a republican prejudice. was that democratic prejudice. prejudice about the money i got tax-free as a per diem recipient. for dealing with human beings. this investigation may be about politics or it may be about human beings. your charge of courses to try to bring out the wrong behavior in both cases. your charge not just with making sure they don't pick on me because i'm conservative for mr. cummings because he's liberal, but also the whole question of day of a lot of people do make a lot more money
than they do. it's not a get even time. all of those and more part of your charge. the investigation before it's primarily is about past conduct. i want to put into the record from a previous hearing, but i'll put them at this point for pot annuity. july 10, 2012, 2 e-mails related to lois lerner e-mails in which it has and it democrats say anonymous donors unfairly influence senate races. it says perhaps the fcc will save the day. this includes holly paz, sharon white and lois lerner and it also mentions crossroads gps and a number of other things and particularly says the obama campaign and the senate redacted, filed a similar complaint against crossroads gps, watchdog groups and so on.
..hings that we're finding -- and it was here today in testimony that you made. it was definitely on a number of my democratic members. they've got a real problem with a 501c4 not disclosing their donors. they want 501c4s to essentially not be able to do what they do and want them to be 527th. another tax category, correct? >> i don't know what they want. 527 is another tax category. >> 527s can do all the activities they want to do, political. they just have to disclose their donors. that falls under the federal election commission.a includes making sure that we properly allocate resources and authorities where they're supposed to be.
in 1959, somkie 50 years ago, 50 years at -- more than 50 years -- 50 years before barack obama was elected president, the american people made certain decisions on a 501(c)(4) and the ruling stood for all those years and it was clearly political activity by 501(c)(4)s and they did not report their donor. when congress created the federal election commission andle other reforms over the years, changes were made. i find no record that they made a decision that the american people, through their elected representatives, republicans and democrats, made any decision to make 501(c)(4)s report their donors or to limit their ability beyond the majority decisions that have been made in the rule for decades. it would appear as though through these e-mails and other activities of lois lerner and
others, individuals at a very high level in washington, working for your agency, made a decision that they were going to do what the fec was charged to do but used their authority. i believe that it's been well-shown there. i believe that's one of the challenges we face beyond the fundamental investigation of the targeting. if the irs is allowed to become a wing of the federal elections commission, if you're allowed to create a rule, modify rules, because you, the president, or executives within the irs or treasury believe that it shouldn't be some way, they should have to report, and that's the reason for changing a 501(c)(4), which cannot exclusively do politics but can do some amount of politics even by your own declaration right now, 40%ing are without
reporting donors, and in fact the irs is legislating and regulating with authorities they don't have to legislate and authority they don't have the fec has. congress and its wisdom and past presidents have in fact provided the rules under which the federal election commission operates and where the disclosure is. many maybes of the committee expressed their willingness and concern and belief that the rule should be changed. whether i share that or not, my concern as the head of this oversight committee -- i hope all of the committees doing oversight -- you not take it on yourself or nip that works for you or for the executive branch to legislate a change that is the exclusive purview of congress and re-evaluating an existing law 50 years ago, quite frankly, belongs to the courts, not to an agency to conveniently
re-interpret something based on who is using it and how, and whether it's politically acceptable. so our administration -- our committee will continue to investigate on behalf of the american people, because we do find the fundamental evidence, on the targeting of conservative groups, that a decision of citizens united and the growth of the use of 501(c)(4)s to do some politics but not exclusive, in fact appears to be the reason for action by the irs. it is within our jurisdiction. it is within our purview, to continue that. so in closing, i must tell you, we do want all of lois lerner's e-mails, all of holly pazs e-mails. department believe you have been forthcoming and we believe you have given us what you believe is responsive, hoping we would never get the rest, when in fact when i issued the subpoena and
re-issued the subpoena to you, did so to make it very clear that our investigation as to e-mails like this one tell us we need to look at all of her correspondence for why she was doing what she was doing, and who she was doing it with. with that, -- >> it's a closing statement and i didn't ask a question. i made a statement. >> i may not agree with all the conclusions in the statement -- it -- >> i certainly let him answer yours but this was a statement, and i wanted you to understand where the investigation was going, which is really what the close is about. mr. cummings, during the course of this investigation, you raised procedural questions related to miss lerner's conduct when she appeared before the committee on may 22, 2013, and again on march 5, 2014. you had a consultant,
mr. rosenberg, look into this. he prepared a memo. the office of general counsel in turn prepared a memo to advise the members of the committee on this topic. i now ask unanimous consent that memo be placed in the report. without objection, so ordered. mr. commissioner, i appreciate you were treated well in some cases and in some cases our members went off topic. you handled yourself well. we will have differences. i do appreciate you being here today and answering all questions. i did not weigh in when people went off topic, and you handled yourself very well. i would have weigh fed if i thought you were sinking. you were not.
so i want to thank you. >> we'll provide you with our memo in response to yours, which has 23 experts who agree with us. >> we can continue to play tit-for-tat. >> no tat. aim just letting you know. >> very good. thank you. and mr. commissioner, thank you. we stand adjourned. thank you. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> i think it's important for the public to understand that we really are committed to moving forward in a nonpolitical, balanced way, where people can be comfortable when they deal with the irs, they'll be treated fairly no matter who they are, their political organizations or beliefs. if you hear from us, there's something in your filing and somebody else's filing, they get
treated the same way. people need to understand that we are committed to treating everybody fairly. >> were there any organizations that you thought were inaccurate or -- [inaudible] >> i do think that to say that we have been uncooperative or hoping that nobody will get a document is incorrect. obviously we have already provided a lot of very interesting lois lerner e-mails which served as the basis for the report, which laid out a case as could what our activities, and that's only possible because of the documents we already produced. we're producing as fast as we can. no one wants to have the investigation concluded faster than i and the irs employees, but it takes a lot of time to go through and redact them. the ways and means committee get the unredacted so they have a couple hundred thousand documents more. we're interesting in complying
and it's going to take a long time if we're going with the broad base they have. we worked with all the committee staffs when we started this investigation before i came to define what it is they actually were interested in, and we would get that first. it was not we would never get them anything else. we prioritized what their interest would be and we'll continue to do that. >> i was referring to the moment when -- what was your reaction when one of the members or more suggested holding your agency and yourself in contempt of congress? >> i think we have a strong record of producing documents, cooperating with the committees. i think no court would argue that we have not been responsive to the committee as quickly as we can, win the constraintses we have of people and documents. >> can you clarify the timing of just the lerner e-mails? you threw out different time, end of the year, and wouldn't be burdensome. >> the years comment is about the request in the subpoena for
all the documents by everybody who applied for a 501(c)(4) for four years. for miss lerner's e-mails, they sent it a letter noting they would -- everybody already has her e-mails about the determination process as shown by them being waved around today and included in the staff report. we said we would private -- the next priority would be the e-mails lois has with regard to the examination process. the appeals process and even the regulatory process. so we're producing those. we produced those to ways and means. we redacting information out of it and we'll get those -- 20,000 pages of documents delivered this afternoon to this committee. >> but you said that -- indicated you don't know. you say by the end of the year was your guess for all of the lerner e-mails. >> no. i said it would take is a few weeks. i was asked this question
yesterday. going to take a few weeks to finish the redaction of the lois lerner e-mails. don't know how many more e-mails there are but -- >> at least the end of the year? several mocks or several years. >> it could take us several months because we're going to take self weeks to do the ones we have our hands around. but in terms of -- i don't think we're going to get the regulation redone before the end of the year is what i said. but in terms of her hem hems, don't know how many there are so i can't give you a -- there's a broad request of documents about all the applications for four years from everybody and all the e-mails surrounding those, and that would take a very long time. >> is what you're doing next? after you go through the next set of e-mail, die understand correctly from this hearing, after this, you will go through all ore e-mails? >> we are going to -- that's next on our list, all of her
e-mails and we'll provide those to all the investigators. again, it's going to be helpful once we find out how many there are and say, here's the volume. do you want to look at them all or search terms and areas, they're going to get it all. we have never said the fact we have given you some means you don't get the rest of it. we simply said we need to provide it to you in an order that is useful for you. it's in our interests to have them be able to be efficient. if we just dump them on their desks, some is paper, some electronic, it would take longer to get to where they are now, and our hope is if we continue to work with them to find out within the broad categories what is the most important to you, can we help you, but we're happy if they just want to dump it on their desk, we can do that as well. it's not a very efficient way to proceed. ultimately the congress can get whatever they would like and we're going to continue to work with them.
i'm trying to get them to understand that if they want to -- which i hope they do -- do this efficiently and get it done soon, we have to work through this volume of stuff in a way that responds to their interests. ultimately they'll get what they want. >> all the other e-mails from the top irs officials, how long will that take? >> i have no idea how many there are. i think it was helping talking about january 2010, to the extent we can find out what areas they're interested in, it will allow to us get those e-mails to them faster. your e-mails over four years, that's a lot of e-mails that have to be found and then in the case of this committee, every page has to be looked at to make sheer we're not giving up any information about a taxpayer. >> are you concerned -- seems to me they're broadening the scope, was your testimony, and you mentioned how much time and money the irs has already spent in these investigations. are you concerned now this is going to be even more taxing? >> clearly one of the things we
have tried to say -- the ig said there was a problem in the determination process. when somebody applies to be a c-4 so we have focused with the investigative committees on the determination process. now the subpoena says what we would like beyond that is everything with regard to examinations and appeals and the regulatory process. and we said, we can finish one. we're happy to cooperate with any investigation they want to do. but people have to understand, if they wrap it up into this investigation, it's going to take a long time for this committee to finish that investigation. others are proceeding and hopefully somebody will complete and issue a report. >> not a problem for the ways and means committee, why the delay on getting them the documents. >> we're working with them in terms of prioritization, what order they get and it initially the focus was determinations and people have the lois lerner e-mails for determination, and
this committee as well. why they were able to issue a staff report. the e-mails they floated around this morning all were provided for us with regard to the determination process. it's not as if for any of the employees they list they don't already have a large number of e-mails. they have had those for some time. >> commissioner, question on the proposed rule for 501(c)(4) groups. they have become a sticking point in everything here, from ukraine aid, now pieces of legislation. the administration willing to expand the rules as you said earlier, that might consider 4, 5, 6, 7. >> the draft proposal asks for public comments, what the definition of political activities is and how much activity show be allowed and to which organization they should be applied. should these regulations be just for c4s or apply across the
road. there's no decision been made about any of that. >> wheat your opinion? >> want to see all of this comments -- keep an open mine. i don't have a prejudged view where we ought to end up. also the new guy in town the most helpful thing i can do it give an independent, fresh view at it. >> look more at the contempt, argument, or if it's 80-20 against or for. >> what you're looking at is -- c4s are garden clubs, civic associations. c35s and 6s are different organizations and what i'm looking for is not volume. i'm looking for what the thoughtful analysises are, what the problems or advantages of doing it one way or another, applying this kind of definition or that kind of definition to different organizations. the purpose of the public comment period is to hear from interested people their perspective and hopefully learn from it. i want to see what people have to say. i'm not an expert in this area, and i think the people who are
concerned about it will -- some of them, i'm sure, have been very thought inflame their comments, and we d thoughtful in their commends and we need to take that into consideration before we come up with a final decision. >> commissioner. [inaudible] the stuff what they get. >> some is e-mails, some are other -- all of it is responsive to the subpoena. the subpoena is very broad because the documents have already been provided to was and means. some e-mails and all of them are responsive to their interests. thank you, everybody. >> can i ask another question? is it there any particular prone when you got the subpoena, saying we want all of lois learner's e-mails you didn't abandon any search terms and go, okay, one after another, we're going to give them lois lerner's e-mails. >> they're not the only thing we have been looking at. we produced last week over 100,000 pages of documents. they weren't e-mails only. some of them are, some are other documents completing.
our goal has been to complete the production of documents about the determination process, and that's why i was pleased to be able to advise this committee and ways ways and means and fine that we produced all those documents. now people want other documents and we'll work with them on producing those. but when we got the subpoena, we were already in closing in on being able to complete this part of the process, and we have made that clear to the committee. they understand we're not ignoring the subpoena. we're not ignoring a request, and never ignored them. we have actually overall provided almost 700,000 pages and some of it has been, as i say, controversial, it's been the basis for these hearings, been the basis for their staff reports. so, again, back to what disagreement die have? i think it's unfair to say that we have been uncooperative or that we have been slow rolling them or hiding documents hoping they don't get them. if you want to hide a document we would have hidden the ones we already gave them. >> thank you very much.
>> this afternoon the white house announced russian president vladimir putin called president obama to discuss a diplomatic resolution in to the situation in ukraine. president obama supports a diplomatic solution but, quote, this remains possible only if russia pulls back its troops, and does not take any steps to further violatage ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty. >> earlier this week the supreme court heard two cases from companies whose owners refused to cover birth control in their employee's health insurance plans. the companies say the owners oppose contraception under religious grounds but are required to offer con
contraception coverage under the health care plans. yesterday air force officials briefed reporters on the investigation into cheating on proficiency tests by air force officers who maintain the nation's nuclear weapons. the air force has removed nine officers involved in the cheating from the nuclear command. >> general wilson and i promised you periodic updates about our very important nuclear mission, the cheating incident and our efforts to address these matters, and, hence, we're grateful you came and spend some
time with us this afternoon. if you think back and recall during our last briefing in january, general wilson and i told you that there were 92 crew members who were under investigation for some level of involvement in a test compromise at momstrom air force base. either they participated in cheating or knew something about it without reporting it. also recall back in january that general wilson launched a commander directed investigation, and forced improvement programs, to get to the bottom of this situation and to recommend needed inprompts. further, the secretary of defense ordered that we provide him a plan within 60 days containing a way forward. finally recall i offered you seven what i called my observations from recent visits to the missile bases. i'd like to run through these
briefly and then we, some of the top level actions. in january, and as we confirmed through the subsequent investigations, we do have some systemic issues in our missile community. so, indeed temperature cultural issues here. i picked up on spotty morale and micromanagement issues at all bases and so did those who participated in our reviewed. this me back to call for plan going forward to address this community and these issues, not simple play plan to aaddress the cheating alone. indeed the commander directed investigation and forced improvement program does have a number of recommends to address the climate within the community and issues of -- just in recognition of how important the
nuclear mission is to our national security. second, by 10 january, i certainly felt the testing and training environment was unhealthy. the drive to always score 100% on exams, when 90% was the standard, and the use of these scores in some cases as the sole differentiator on who was proposed and who wasn't, seemed inappropriate to me. and we'll be changing dramatically how we conduct testing and training going forward. while at all times keeping the standards and evaluation criteria appropriately high for nose involved with number clear matters. third, told you there would be accountability both for the missileeers involved as well as leaders. first, on leaders. nine officers in leadership positions at malmstrom were recommended for removal. one officer submitted his
resignation and will retire. so this is a total of 10 leaders in all. none of these leaders were directly involved in a test compromise, but the commander directed investigation indicated that they failed to provide adequate oversight of their crew force. now, on the missileers. the investigation ultimately grew to 100 officers that were implicated and being investigated as part of the compromise. of the 100, nine actually were not substantiated. and will be returned to duty as soon as practicable. general wilson will give you more details on all of this shortly. the fourth, given that this indeed was a major failure in integrity, the fourth thing talk about back in january was how i thought we needed to re-invigorate our core values across the air force, and certainly secretary hagel called upon each of us in the services
to double down in this effort, and as you know he just appointed a new official admiral peg cline, to coordinate with all of is on this important matter. so our air force core values, integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do, these have to guide us in everything that we do. on and off duty, at home in the office, and on the battlefield, and integrity means living a life of personal integrity, but it also means taking actions when you see something in your environment that is not right. if it's in your unit, among your peers, your subordinates and your superiors alike, your duty is to act. now, with all of this as a blackdrop, general welch, chief and i launched an air-force wide initiative to re-invigorate core values. it will include a stand-down
wingman day, evaluating the current curriculum in at the training vane us, and launching a core values resource center on the air force portal to provide commanders and senior ncos the tools they need to reinforce values with our airmen at the unit level. finally issue had a fifth, sixth and seventh operation in january, and this is whether we need incentives, professional development and what i called other investments. and basically my thinking on this was that we say this is an important mission, and yet do we in fact put enough of our money where our mouth is when it comes to resource decisions and the missileers heave career paths and training which are commence
rat with the importance of the mission. these were on me mine. the bottom line here is we're going to need a little more time to fully flesh out these areas, but for now, i can report to you that in fiscal year 2014 we have $19 million funned for in areas within the fourth improvement program, including launch control center refurbishment and infrastructure repairs. furthermore the 20th air force has identified an additional 3 million for quality of life requirements. and in our fiscal budget we requested $15 million to sustain icbm helicopter support and critical communication cases areas. we have identified $154 million in other requirements associated with our force improvement program, including readiness training and improvements to launch control facilities, to just name a few of the areas. and what i can tell you is that as we execute our funding in
2014, we're going to seek to re-arrange as much as possible to fund these important programs, in other words, we're not going to wait. we're going to move forward. moreover, general wilson has established several quick look action teams that will be developing specific recommendations on these other areas i mentioned. like incentives, and accolades and what do we do about professional development, and these quick action teams and he will report back to the chief and me with their recommendations by the end of april. >> i did brief secretary hagel earlier in the week and he is confident we are on the right track to ensure the trust and confidence in the myth. before i turn it over to general wilson, i want to reinforce with you that our air force nuclear deterrence mission is critical to national security and it's very strong, and the reviews we just conducted confirm this.
overall i continue to have great confidence in this mission as does the secretary of defense and the way this mission is being proofed, and i also have great confidence in tomalestrom. for over 50 years they have faithly stood watch over america and as in the past, today's nuclear airmen continue that legacy, taking great pride in their work and performing superbly under difficult conditions. theirs we have before us today are tough, and they didn't come overnight. they have been years in the making. they're not going to get solved overnight. while we have made progress in certain areas in recent years, there is more work to be done. and i'm sure we'll get because we will provide consistent focus and leadership this deserves and getting this right for a people is the number one goal and it is critical for our efforts going forward. and we're committed to getting
it right for the people. now i turn it over to general wilson. >> thank you. i want to update you on the actions we're taking to hold our people accountable and how global strike command is using this opportunity to move forward and improve this enterprise. as many are you aware the office of special investigations discovered the compromise of monthly proficiency testing while investigating several air force officers for alleged drug activity. the investigation happened to include three missileers from may. strom air force base in montana. while investigating their personal cell phones as part of the drug investigation, osi agents found test material on them. this parked a new investigation that implicated officers for sending, receiving, requesting, or having knowledge of compromised testing material. to be more specific, investigators found that four
officers who were at the center of the ring where test materials were shared through texts and/or pictures. when we briefed this issue in january, initial evidence pointed to the test pri mine mice taking place during august and september of 2013. as the investigation continue, forensic analysis of the crew members' cell phones to a potential cheating as far back as november of 2011 and as recently as november of 2013. furthermore, osy analysis found one of the texts included a photograph of a classified test answer. i can't give you any additional information for security reasons, but i can assure you that at no time did this compromise test material put the safety or security of the nuclear deterrent force at recollection. on 27 january i assigned the site commander of air education
to conduct an investigation. he visited all three missile wings and the wing at vandenburg air force base. and reviewed the testing, training, and evaluation over combat crew members. additionally i asked general holmes to look at the leadership environment and the oversight of the crew. his commander directed investigation results provided four far-reaching recommends in the following areas. reforming organizational culture, empuring crew commanders. improving the quality and purpose of training, and, lastly, reforming testing and evaluations. we can say that the air force, leadership's focus led commanders to micromanage crew, and they were personally monitoring and directing daily operations, imposing unrelenting testing with the goal of eliminating all human error.
this approach is unrealistic, given the icbm mission is built around redundance sunday to weapons systems, standardized procedure and teamwork. we know that leaders placed too much emphasis on month test scores. the standard pass is 90%. the crewmers were pressured to score 100%. leaders lost sight of the fact that execution in the field is more important than what happens in the classroom. these are all bright officers and none of these needed the information to pass the test. they felt compelled to cheat to get a perfect score. now, global strike command strives for cultural excellence and compliance. however, in the icbm environment there's been an underhealthy overemphasis on next perfection and a marked fear of failure to stop airmen from identifying weaknesses and working to correct them.
any error would derail advancement and couldents their career. the constant oversight, inspections and testing regimen alienaded subbernards and lack of mid-level officers contributioned to a gap between squadron leaders and missile crews. the development of experience mid-level leader is critical to ensure accountability, closing communication gaps and striking a better balance between mission and people. so leadership development must be present in all squadrons also all levels. it's important to empower crew handers by providing leadership opportunities and making them responsible for developing the skills and knowledge of the crew. our review of the training, testing and evaluation procedures identified a separation between training and evaluation that facilitates a healthy and productive training environment was lost. as a result we're going to place greater emphasis on, one, how we train, and, two field evaluations that better assess
crew performance in the operational environment. the significance of scoring 100 percent. we briefly discussed accountability. secretary gains and i said from the beginning that airmen at all levels will be held accountable for your action or enact that allowed this to happen. in january we briefed you that 92 airmen were involved. that number has changed, as have the details of who was involved and at what level. allow know walk through through evolution of those numbers and where they stand today. general holme and his team reviewed 88 of 98 cases transferred from the osi. evidence substantiated cheating in 79 of the 88 cases, officers sents and received test materials orthos who simple played knowledge but failed to report. allegations against one officer were found to be
unsubstantiated. you'll find these numbers i just mentioned in the report which you will have access to today. even after the conclusion of the report, and the report was established, investigative work still continued. cases continued to transition between osi and command authority. based on what -- who was involved and at what level. today the number of individuals involved stands at 100, witch 91 falling under command authority. osi still maintenances jurisdiction over nine cases. eight of the nine are from the mishandling of classified information and three of the nine are also under investigation for illegal drug activity. at the conclusion of this briefing we'll provide you test compromise overview chart which will reflect the current numbers and categories of all involved. as commanders we take responsibility for their airmen in our charge. we're responsible for ensure you're trained, ready, and able to do the mission. we take care of the people, so they can accomplish the mission.
commanderes are also responsible when our people fall short. colonel robert stanley, the commander of the missile wing, has taken responsibility for this failure. this morning, major general yack winestein, the commander of the 20th air force, accepted colonel stanley's resignation. he served the nation and the air force with great honor and distinction for 25 pierce. he relinquished command this morning and will retire in the coming weeks. general winestein relievedded nine leaders from the group squadron level. he removed colonel mark schuler, 341 not group commander for loss of confidence in his leadership ability. he also removed the group deputy commander from that position. genuinestein also remoored four squadron commanders of the tenth, 12th, and 490th 490th missile squadron and the commander of the 341st 341st operational support squadron. also removed the director of operations from operational support squadron and the tenth
missile squadron. finally, the agree group evaluation officer was removed. none of these people were directly involved in test compromise, however they all failed adequate leadership, supervision, and oversight of the crew force. colonel tom wilcox has taken command of the 341st as of this morning. he is a career nuclear security force leaders and joins the staff from where he previously led our security forces division. tom previously served as the interim security force commander at palmstrom from august and november of this year and is absolutely the right lead. action is being taken against officers who have substantiated cheating from the investigation. details of those actions were released after all the members have been served and are being served today. after completion of these actions, a determination will be made on the officers as to
whether they return to alert duty. the of officer is with unsubstantiated allegation will be retrained and return to dutiy. while all this has been going on threshing 341st missile wing has continued to perform its mission uninterrupted. 20th air force augmented crews other air force bases and will monitor and following the graduates fromle vandenberg air force base and we expect mahmstrom to be up in three months. we're using this test comprimise as an opportunity to make significant and important improvements across the whole enterprise. we lost the force improvement program in february. this effort was model every the navy program to address a wide range of issues. the force improvement team included a do is diverse group
of airmen from operations, maintenance, security force, mission support, and helicopter fields from the missile wings and included members from outside the community, like navy submariners and b-52 crew members. the purpose of the program was to create an aggressive, action oriented, field influenced program with the goal of making substantial and lasting changes. this program will have airmember work,ing at the grassroots level and enable them to propose actions to me. the team interviewed 835 people on how to make things better in the field. we combined these inputs with the results of commander directed investigation, to develop a list of nearly 400 action items that i can act on, and as i said before, i'm ready to implement as many of those items i can and those i can't i'll bring to headquarters of
the air force to fix. there's over 25,000 people in air force global strike command. i want focus on then 99.5% of our airmen who do this important mission with excellence every single day. they deter our adversaries and assure our friends. and not only abide by but they live our core values elm we believe that changes we're going continue constitute will ensure that all of our people live up to our high standards. let me close by saying, the execution of the icbm mission has gone largely unchanged since the first missile air -- 1959. we're not a just putting a fresh coat of paint on the problem. we're taking bolds action. there while be extensive changes the way we build, teach, treason, develop, and lead our crew force. the changes we're making will be a turning pound for the icbm community that will improve both the mission as well as our airmen, while strengthening our core values. our nation demands and deserves
the higher standards of accountable from the force entrusted with the most paul -- powerful weapons on the planet. we're committed to living up to the standards. thank you very much. >> madam secretary, bob from the ap. you both mentioned general -- the review -- did he specifically ask individual weather they had cheated on any of the testing in the past, and if he didn't, how can you be sure this didn't happen elsewhere? >> let me take that. general holme went out to each base and talked to the leadership at every base. so for the wing commanders, crew commander, squadron commanders, chiefs and supervisors, and the deputies. i also gave out information to list positively, called pdi, potentially disqualifying information to every crew member. he went where the investigation took him. and when he looked at the evidence he pulled on the string
and it didn't lead outside of malmstrom air force base. >> so he didn't ask people specifically whether they cheated at other bases? how can you we sure it didn't happen? >> what i'm -- bob, he asked specific questions to focus groups. i asked every crew member, did they have potentially disqualifying information and we went where the information went and we found no elfed that it existed outside of malmstrom. >> the confusion under only disqualifying information, what do you mean -- >> its their responsibility -- we ask them specifically, were they aware of any test compromise or material that had been passed that would be potentially disqualifying information, and we asked each crew member in the icbm community. >> so you do ask -- [inaudible question]
>> none of that -- we found none of that except at malmstrom. >> dave martin from cbs. you remain confident in the ability of the -- given the malmstrom wing to carry out the mission but you just fired nine of the leaders. how can you be confident when you have the leadership you awl obviously didn't have confidence in them because you fire them. >> i didn't fire them. they were removed by 20th air force but i have confidence, as general wilson said, the vast majority of people are doing a good job and they're performing superbly across the missile community. there are new leaders now in place at malmstrom, and the leadership at global strike selected this team and i have confidence in them. >> the nine officers, what proportion of the officers in leadership positions at malmstrom does that represent?
>> we removed -- i can't give you a specific number. the group as well as each of the squad dragons -- that leadership was removed and many of the operations officers, two of the three operations officers and tactical squadron and operational support squadron. so 200 missileers and row removed nine of them. a significant portion of leadership at ma. strom to be sure, -- at malmstrom to be sure. i'll also tell you the folk wes have gone out and across the air force, people we put in place, bring with them great skillsets. training at one of the areas as well as core knowledge of the mission area and we looked outside, for example, one of the group commanders came from the defense threat reduction agency
so he is an expert on the mission as well as evaluations. we brought another expert and trainer as well as having a deep icbm background. so every one of the leaders we put in place was hand-picked to take team malmstrom forward. >> just point of clarification. the ten officers, all colonels? >> colonels and lieutenant colonels, one of which was a major. >> the 79 officers implicated in some way, what will the punishment be for them? letters of reprimand? >> we have the full range of punishment, everything from letters of counseling, letters of admonishment, letters of reprimand, article 15 action, up to and including court-martial. >> the question is, you talked about the perfection of the test. you don't have to get 100 anymore. you're going to focus on training and then field exercises. but they still will be taking
thises. you just say, don't have to get 100 anymore. >> 90% -- current lip 90% is a passing grades and it's a pass or fail on the test and we're not keeping score. >> other than pass or fail. >> a team test like the navy -- >> that's one of the areas we're looking at. >> in the field exercise you'll folk kansas more on that than in the past? >> right. >> mess. >> michael hoffman with military.com. six years ago, there were similar announcements going with firings and wholesale changes being prom mitted within the nuclear community. six years now another major problem has come up. my question is, why does it take major problems to come up within the nuclear world for these changes? why isn't the air force failed to be pro-active in identifying these problems before major problems come up? >> well, this enterprise is something that all of us who are in it take very seriously every day and we're looking to make sure it's the best it can be.
we identified systemic problems in the -- on this perfection this standard culture, and so what we're trying to get through is we have flawless execution in the field due to teamwork and perfection is the standard that made people micromanage folks, that didn't empower them, and that's part over the culture we're going after right now to be able to fix. so, our force improvement program is getting after part of o what you describing, how die change the culture and change it for the better to make -- we have commanders in the field that recognize error, that they can empowered to fix and it move forward. >> perfection -- sounds almost like an discussion. you're providing them an discussion. cheating is one of the highest problems within the honor code, and you feel that way because you're pushing for the core values. it seems like for you still have
confidence, even though a significant chunk of the missileers are cheating, seems to be a major problem. >> there's 25,000 global strike command. 99.5% of them every day do their job with excellence, with confidence, with pride in what they do. what we identified was a very small percentage of folks who did not live up to our core values. >> the missileers in the air force -- [inaudible] >> it is a significant portion, certainly at malm from air force base. now, what i think you'll find is that at the root of this, there was a few, handful of people at the crux of the problem. and this belief i'm going to help somebody, when it fact they breached their integrity, and that's the thing the secretary and i talked about. we're gold people accountable at all levels. so from the youngest airman to the people in charge to ensure
they climate exist that we allow people to do their job. >> there are those who apparently actively cheated and then was another group who knew something about it but said nothing. if one person, if one person, had spoken up, this could have been very different. and so that's why we are really focusing on what integrity means. it means the individual acting with integrity but it means seeing something in your environment that is not right, your job is to speak up, and we're making a big point of emphasizing that. >> at -- you said this went on for a period of two years. it's obviously multiple tests. is that fair? >> that's correct. >> is this all of the tests that the missileers are given each month? >> no. what we found is a varying range. there were a few of the 79 who -- one time. a few of them who may have done it many times.
so, as we give you the results of the cdy to look through, we can tie together the web who. what, where, when, why, and how they did this, and there were some who only knew about it but didn't say anything. >> return quickly to bob's question. it does sort of strain credulity to think is this is the all can tyler problem that something similar wasn't going on at the other wings. did you -- beyond asking missileers whether they had any compromising information, did you do any forensic analysis to test whether that might bell the case? >> what i would say is everybody publish we went where the evidence took us. we found that the crux there was four individuals. three of the individuals were also involved in illegal drug activity. potentiallying legal drug activity. if we would have removed those, this incident would have never happen; if those individuals had
been at some other base, we might have been talking about this at another base. but those individuals at the crux of it are three of them were involved in illegal drug use. >> but just to -- my question, there wasn't a further investigation beyond the questioning of the missileers. >> everybody has rights and so to be able to do that, if they would have found information on a phone that linked to another base we would have followed that lead. it didn't lead there. >> helene cooper with "the new york times." what we're all having trouble following is that it feels like there was level of probe at malmstrom there was not at the other bases, and i think that's what we're all circling around. particularly given that so many people have talked about this culture of cheating that's been in place for years. if that's the case, yet you say there are -- you moved those four people at malmstrom out of the equation, wouldn't be having
ing this conversation, those are two halves to put together and i'm still having trouble with figuring out, what's the deal with malmstrom? >> these four people, these four people who are -- i also say enabled by today's cell phone technology, so i can take a cell phone and i can text answers and i can send it out to a group of people, which is what in essence what happened. >> have they been dismissed? >> those four people are -- three of them are still under osi investigation. one of them is not and we're taking command action on that individual. [inaudible question] >> we're taking disciplinary action on that person. >> collin. madam secretary, what are you going to do over the next three to five years to ensure that
people doing this mission know that you are really committed to this mission and that it matters? that seems to be, from what we hear when we chat to people, major problem at these bases. it's not thrilling duty. it's important but it's not thrilling. and there's a sense among a lot of people that, given how long it's taken you to do repairs and that sort of thing, there's not a lot of interest. >> so, colin, i would say from my perspective, for the period of time i have as being part of the air force, intend to bring to it persistent focus, persistent leadership, periodic visits, meeting with commanders, asking how things are done, going to meet with members of the missile crews and the other members of the team so that's what i intend to do. in addition you heard we're redirecting some resources quickly.
we're going to take a little bit more time, look al some issues like professional development, which i think is terribly important, that people see a path to rise through the ranks, so that it will be in fact an perception of it's a good job. these are the things i hope to bring along with general wilson and his global strike team. >> can you give us a couple of examples of how you're going to -- i can't remember the exact phrase you used but change thing -- evaluation process. simulators more? >> let me give you an example. today a missile crew member takes three tests a month, each have 30 questions on the test. then day take a mission procedural trainer. those deinvolved into evaluations of air crew member -- takes a month test and his test is called bold face.
something they have to be able to-do no matter now stressful the situation, middle of the night, bad situations, they have to remember this. missiling crew members don't have that. so we're going develop what we call bald face or missile crew members. then in most every flying weapon -- you're issued a series of question0s on the important things to operates the weapon system. the notes and warnings and cautions i should be familiar with to do it. crew members are tested quarterly on those. so that's a model we think we can follow. flying crew member is evaluated on a 17-month cycle. as part of the evaluation there's a open book and closed book test and emergency procedure simulator and then they do the mission. we're going to do that same model. we give a line crew members to a 17-month time period. an open book, closed book test. mission procedure trainer and then observe them has they do their combat mission in the