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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  October 28, 2015 12:00am-2:01am EDT

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have been furnished with donated furniture. and then they will make sure that there's a meal in the refrigerator. >> mm-hm. >> and show them how to turn on and off the lights. depending on where they're from some of the modern conveniences are new. c-span for live
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coverage of congress on tv on the radio, and online at c-sp c-span.org. this is house speaker john boehner's last week in congress. he retires friday. his fellow ohio members just finished paying tribute to him on house floor.
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representative paul ryan of wisconsin receiving support from various caucuses within the republican party. he's the frontrunner. representative daniel webster of florida is also running. tomorrow the house will meet behind closed doors to choose their candidate and the full house will vote on thursday at 9:00 a.m. follow our coverage for the speaker's race on the c-span networks or online at c-span.org. the government oversight reform committee issued a final motion to impeach the irs commissioner john koskinen. in a tweet he said moments ago we filed papers to impeach irs commissioner koskinen, destruction of evidence, and false statements under oath among the charges. this happens after earlier this week the department of justice decided not to file charges against lois lerner. and the motion today comes after the commissioner's appearance
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before a committee. the senate finance committee heard from him earlier today and this hearing is about two hours. >> the committee will come to order and i want to welcome everyone to this morning's hearing. in may 2013, the treasury inspector general for tax administration revealed in the run-up to the 2012 and 2010 elections the irs targeted certain organizations with extra and undue scrutiny. needless to say, we take this matter very seriously. indeed at the time both republicans and democrats condemned the agency's actions. and as the senate committee with exclusive legislative and oversight jurisdiction over the irs, the finance committee launched a bipartisan investigation into the matter. on august 5th of this year after
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more than two years of investigation, we released a 375-page bipartisan investigative committee report that included approximately 4700 pages of exhibits. this report is, i believe, the definitive record of what occurred at the irs and why. as we all know, last week the department of justice stated publicly that they would not be pressing criminal charges with regard to these events at the irs. this has led some to argue that the justice department is corrupt or biassed in some way. i believe the committee's report speaks for itself on this matter and in my opinion, rather than fueling the echo chamber, we would do better to focus on what we know actually happened and what changes need to take place to make sure it doesn't happen again. that's why we're here today. the committee's report included 10 major findings that formed
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the basis of various recommendations for changes we believe the agency should make to ensure the irs' actions remain above board. the purpose of today's hearing is to hear directly from the irs about their response to our report. toward that end, i want to thank commissioner koskinen for being here today and for the agency's thoughtful response to our recommendations. in that response, the irs indicated that they have implemented all of the bipartisan recommendations from the report that are within the agency's control as well as a strike that majority and minority recommendations. our overall goal here should be to restore the creditability of the irs. while i want to commend the irs for the efforts they have made thus far, it is my understanding that up to now most of the changes they've made have been procedural in nature and very
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little has been done to begin work on the needed structural changes at the agency. today i hope to hear more details as to why these types of changes are being delayed. at the same time, i believe the finance committee should consider statutory changes. for example, there was bipartisan agreement on the report in the need to update the hatch act to ensure with regard to political activities irs employees receive the same considerations as employees of other highly sensitive agencies like the federal election commission and the federal bureau of investigation. in addition as the majority views and the report noted and as i have stated publicly on multiple occasions, i have serious concern about the influence of labor union active at the irs. while i am not anti-union and why i do not oppose collective bargaining in general, we know 2/3 of irs workers are represented by an union organization that is very politically active and that a
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fair number of irs employees work full-time for the benefit of that union. i don't think it's much of a stretch to argue that such a strong union presence could have contributed to a politicized argument at irs. generally with agencies that have important law enforcement obligations or perform other highly sensitive work. while i expect there to be some resistance to this idea, i think it is only reasonable that we take the time to consider whether the irs should be placed in a similar category. i hope today we can have a good discussion and get commissioner koskinen's views on these and other legislative proposals. ultimately the theme i want to stress most today is accountability. our report clearly shows that political targeting at the irs resulted from a number of bad decisions made by a number of different officials.
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however, as of yet very few of these individuals have been held accountable while others have since received bonuses and promotions. i am more concerned that the irs lacks the necessary structural and procedural mechanisms to ensure as an agency it remains accountable. the recommendations we included in our report were designed to provide this type of accountability. and i look forward to discussing our ideas in more detail today. before i conclude, i just want to briefly comment on the ongoing effort at the irs regarding the political activities of 501c organizations. this is an issue that deeply concerns a number of people throughout the country, including members of this committee. as we know regulations proposed in 2013 were criticized by people and organizations across the political spectrum and were subsequently withdrawn. that proposal would have created
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nonsensical rules and dubious speech restrictions. oddly enough it would have created stricter standards for 501c organizations that exist for public charities, which would be a perverse reversal of roles for these types of organizations. i think it's fair to say that agencies still carries with it a cloud of perceived political bias. therefore i would caution mr. koskinen and others in the administration that have made this regulation a priority to focus instead on actions to restore the irs's creditability than to abandon any effort to inject more rules and restrictions into the political process. i expect that members of the committee will want to discuss this matter today as well as once again it is an issue that is on the minds of many people. with that, i'll turn to o

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