tv Q A CSPAN March 26, 2014 7:30pm-8:31pm EDT
, it to an existing authorized investigation. anyone suspected of being a -- the key on the president's side, he is ending bulk collections. only particular requests. authorized in advance by the pfizer court, and without, some people expected they would in -- impose, any additional data on the companies, to hold data longer than they normally would. collects for the company holding the data, is that acceptable to use gecko -- he -- you? they need the ability to track their own usage. that is not a new thing.
the concern people had and companies were really balking at is the idea that on top of the 18 months, the fcc makes landmines retain their records for an additional tee dubs, three, or five years. you are required keep the costs. host: the president said -- " do you think it satisfies that -- standard?though to be what standard has met before records can be -- can beak of attained?
you potentially very quickly to a large number of innocent people -- it gets you potentially very quickly to a large number of innocent people. suspicious number would be attainable and the records one degree removed would be attainable. that addresses a concern about the overbreadth of the program. of the the commitment idea to particular orders, especially bulk collection, ratification. the remaining question is a suspicion of exactly why. talk our guest is here to about the proposed changes to the nsa collection. if you want to ask him about the proposed changes --
you can also send us a tweet and in e-mail. the chairman of the house , get hisnce committee information and then get your thoughts on it. quacks they will set the standards for -- >> they will set the standards. or fill-in, yemen, the blank in twentysomething countries where there are on governance -- ungoverned space in the world. the judge would say, here is the requirement you have to meet in order to submit the number. they begin collecting in real-time. the court promptly must review to make sure it meets the standard of the court. if it does not, all the information must be purged.
guest: that one key difference is that, while on both sides, you have particularized review, the actual, specific numbers in the system and the reasons for suspecting those numbers, are still being reviewed by the judge, but in this case, the procedure thata will count as a valid way to select suspicious numbers. starteder they collection on their own does the court have to ratify for it. in normal way we do it surges of all kinds is the judge first, records later. that things will happen unless
you get right on it. you can start collecting and start searching and ask the judge for approval. in one way, the house proposal is broader than what the president has proposed. on this one program they found out about, fixing people's .oncerns the house brings out and highlights there is a whole range of different kinds of records. it goes a little bit further. all recordsprotect or internet habits. a few other categories of sensitive records. it does not cover all types of
records. it does not leave quite the size of the loophole the president proposal seems to where they said, we fixed to the program you know about. there not going to alter authority. you no longer have to be specific. you can get an entire database and decide what is relevant later. scott from new york, the democrats line. caller: the nsa overreach is inevitable of the political and media establishment, letting our government get away with a massive live for 12 years. years need to pass before the media starts to informing the public of the scientific evidence of couldn't -- controlled demolition of building seven, the third tower on 9/11. answer if you wish. this is part of a campaign to call the program on this topic.
anthony, independent line. caller: i am listening to the rules and regulations change. one layer deep, and going to anybody they make the phone call to. the same fisa court authorized phone calls. can we go three layers deep gecko -- deep? it was odd you used the term degree of separation. guest: the fisa court allows the to look atcurity direct contact records to see the second layer and they can to lookone more removed at the third hop out from the suspicious number. proposals we are looking at lock in the idea there is really just one degree of separation. this is language the senate
unanimously approved in 2005. it was changed in the last minute. it would have changed the to say, this only of people records directly suspected of being foreign agents or terrorists and people in direct contact with them. that is as far as relevance will -- you, you are asked, we could talk about the nsa all day everyday, but nothing will change with these proposal out there, what if likelihood we will see a law come from the proposals echo quacks at this point, we are and into the when and exactly how. there seemed to be, at this point, in a remarkable give it, back in the summer, you had the white house unified and unique
vocal that these were vital programs that were absolutely legal and did not need to be reformed in any way. see a census boat collection needs to end basically because of two does independent panels concluding .here were legal questions i think something is going to happen and it is just a question of whether people are satisfied with this approach of these slightly different plans or want to go broader like the freedom brennersored by senator and senator leahy, which has gained a lot of traction. the freedom act was introduced months ago and is quite a bit router. it fixes a range of different authorities. it goes further in establishing
various checks, although there is some of that in the house intelligence bill as well. essentially across a range of authorities, it locks in the that says,tandard records need to be connected to, a suspect or someone in direct suspect, for a and, crucially, something the house bill does not touch on at all, international security levels, without judicial approval, high fieldbi agents, officers issuing on their own. significant difference. it closes the loophole across the board and does not provide a new authority, the extreme line to records across different carriers. so they can get things quickly by having a format and letting
phone companies talk to each other. maybe there is a good argument to adding something like that. but they are different in terms of the extent of protection across authorities. quacks the ranking member of maryland was yesterday talking about their proposal but commented and this is what he had to say. >> under senator breaux, in order for us to have the ability to see who the person is calling and going to get the information, you have to have an ongoing investigation. that is not an ongoing investigation. right there, we would not have the ability to see terrorists calling the united states because we have an ongoing investigation. that one issue himself. what senator brenner is trying information for a probable cause and that type
of thing. we have standards of intelligence. listening to our constituents who have a concern about privacy, and they should, you should always be concerned about privacy, we are attempting to get the information to move over and have more information if there are bad guys who want to attack us. this seems inconsistent with what they were telling us all along. how could everyone posses phone everyone's phone records be suspect to investigation ye? not just an investigation of joe or some particular phone number. they are investigations of entire organizations.
very many records might be relevant to the investigation of the group al qaeda. this is not a very convincing reason for thinking literally billions of phone records will be relevant, but it is reason to think it is not usually the case a safe house affiliated with some terror group overseas, and there is literally no .nvestigation youe is a new group that found out about, you would open the investigation. remains an important check to authority. it is not some suspicion of a particular number not anchored to something a larger threat the fbi is actually concerned with. it is really anchored to the test of do you have enough to investigationted based on facts about a threat or and you knowdoing
someone basically reviewed the evidence when the investigation was opened yet fel? this is jp, poughkeepsie, new york, independent line. i have two does questions. a minor one is, i am curious why botheringanyone is with phone lines anymore. live in an age where you bill by long-distance calls anymore. i did not make that call to symphysis go and they take it off. that is one thing i am wondering. why we are leaving -- even bothering with it. the fourth amendment is aboutely explicit searches and seizures, what can be searched.
sworn affirmation, there has to be a border, everything has to be since -- subscribed in particular. to searchng everywhere, everything, everybody approach. i do not understand. maybe you could explain it to me. so phone records, it does -- it turns out foreign agents sometimes make phone calls and the way the more adept we have become at monitoring the internet, the more there is reason to think we are at least not worse off using a phone, especially between burner thrones -- phones. there is at least a sense, rightly or wrongly, and perhaps less of a sense now, there is a degree of anonymity available for things like disposable thumbs.
it seems as though one of the problems nsa is having is increasingly because doing is changing. they are not necessarily billing you by the call or where exactly you dialed area some of them were not maintaining records that had a usable or easily searchable format, which has supposedly decreased to the phone logs. it may or may not be strictly accurate, but one of the things is essentiallyll a set aside for funding to compensate the fundings for whatever technical changes may be required to be able to provide the information the government is looking for. that may be the underlying point of the new authority in making that change, to enable that kind of technological transition. the fourth amendment, the
problem here is across a range of different intelligence authorities, with all sorts of records in terms of internet monitoring. to the founders and framers of the constitution, would have looked like general warrants. a broad authority that does not maythis house, this person be searched for evidence of that one.cular providing for agents to basically make a diligent search of any place. the problem is the supreme court theye late 70 posses, decided the records turned over to a third-party and essentially
have surrendered their expectation of ivc. i do not think anyone actually thinks this way. internet use comcast and verizon service, there is a and that information is basically public. i assume the risk will be shared with the government. that is counterintuitive but the is, at present, guidelines stretched out. one supreme court justice in a recent opinion suggested it was clear technological change with more data being stored in the hands of their parties like google and facebook, that that doctrine needs to be revisited or there will not be much of the fourth amendment left. it will not be relevant anymore. i do not think the nsa should be allowed to monitor any
domestic phone calls. bombers, they had warnings already from russia. pay no attention to that warning. they have many phone calls monitoring and they have not stopped any terrorist acts. even the ones from overseas. the call for public surveillance cameras, the boston bombers, they had pictures of them winning their bombs buried good old-fashioned local police work is much more than all of -- much more effective than all the nsa monitoring. dollars are spent uselessly on all these. distinguish between monitoring of the phone call themselves, the contents of the calls, and the monitoring of the metadata, records of the calls. they are looking for networks.
not doly, the nsa does true -- totally domestic phone monitoring. they are in charge of international traffic. sometimes, the vacuum cleaner is so asked, they sometimes end up picking up more than they're supposed to. that is the effort the ipod sees job. thes supposed to happen oversight board that looks in the detail is the caller is right, the phone records program was initially said to have been really essential to flailing dozens of terrorist attacks and they conceded we meant for it -- prison internet surveillance. there is only about a dozen cases where the phone records program was useful in disrupting attack. as they looked closer, they was, actually, mostly this
just used to dig up information the fbi found judicial, targeted , proof methods. there may be one click -- one case in which the program over seven years might have helped us identify someone who was donating money to a somali terror group. track record.ive the consensus seems to be the program has not been very effective at all. is there an expiration date on the data collection program ye? guest: yes. one of the few remaining is set to expire there it one of the threats here that the author of of hatred at and now sponsor perhaps the most sweeping reform
bill, the freedom act, was raised several times. he has threatened if you do not , the intelligence community, on getting serious reforms pushed through, you have to consider you will not have the votes to authorize the authority. forget the program. you will lose the authority altogether. does not mean they would lose it altogether. they would revert back to the even more restricted free patriot act standard. they would have records specifically about suspected agents. more restricted because before government,act, the the fbi, was able to do this, a particulart suspected foreign agents. it was not you and your friends and your friends friends or even you and your friends. if you are under suspicion, your records would be detained and that was it. you need basically a separate
.on-intelligence authority host: democrats line. it is astonishing. tierney is tyranny, whether a german not see with a swastika on his shoulder, whether it is a sickle on his arm or whether it a global, geopolitical global corporation, which is literally facilitating the destruction of the united states, constitution, the bill of rights area when you theen to the nonsense about assertions from your guests, i have got news for you. whether or matter not the spying operations in america and today. the u.s. government already has within its means the kill list that is going to be implemented when they crash the dollar and
into -- implement a truly diabolical american state. it is shocking. you know exactly what is taking place. i am not super worried about the kill us and not see comparisons, in general, unless people intoutting camps, are seldom illuminating. you worry about the potential of broad and sweeping architecture surveillance. in seen that systematically the past. there is every reason to worry about what a more authoritarian regime in the future might do with the incredible pacitti, but i think usually, when the not thecomparisons come out, conversation has gone down a bad rabbit hole. asked -- r green guest: so no.
the freedom of information act is about getting records about government activities and the privacy act is usually what you use to get records of information about yourself. that is good because you do not want other people looking at information about you that might be in government files. there is a broad exception that they basically do not have to turn over files obtained in ongoing intelligence activities. it is not terribly surprising you cannot request the nsa to disclose exactly what kind of classified collection programs they might have. they are collecting information that might pertain to you in some way. you do not want people who are up to no good to discover how under investigation they are by making requests for their own data.
host: here is michael, virginia, independent line. caller: i am of the totally opposite opinion of everyone else so far on this point. say, i am reminded of the andy griffith show with a telephone operator used to listen into everybody posses conversation and pass around the village. i am also reminded of shakespeare's play, much ado about nothing. should let them have everything they want. they will only put their lawyers on it and twist it around to make it so they get what they want in the first place. a way for atical in
judge to sit and sort through all the telephone calls and decide what is right and what is wrong. by the time it is done, it would be over. i say give them what they want, let them do what they like, and be aware of the fact they're talking on the phone and thank you very much indeed for your consideration. guest: it is disturbing where we -- areached the point widespread attitude of, whatever you make the law in secret, they will interpret it to allow them so whyhatever they want bother. from a democratic standpoint, it is chilling that is a widespread seeming view. aboute what i just said the general uselessness of invoking not cease, broadly oraking, societies governments want have -- one access to data, it is not a
place you want to live. we see plenty of evidence over decades and repeatedly, surveillance and foreign intelligence authority was systematically abused by those with the power to wield it to benefit those in power and their friends. reason to notd say, let them get whatever they want, especially when, we have had multiple findings where a lot of these programs are so offended at first disclosure, turned out, privacy aside, not to be with the money. host: one more tweak, the viewer asks -- yes, there is an interesting tension between the suddenly aboute,
the disclosure of this program. we had a lot of initial things, he is really grievously harmed the national security of the united states by disclosing the existing -- existence of the program. we did not know they were anding all -- them all in it is not clear how useful the information has been, and yet, a few months later, we have james clapper, director of national intelligence conceding perhaps it would have been better if we had been transparent upfront. we should have gone to congress or have been first -- forthright about needing the power to do this abroad instead of doing it in -- the fact that we are seeing almost universal consensus that this program does need to end
shows that there was real value to what he says, whether or not you think that program was illegal, it was sufficiently concerning. >> tonight on c-span, the house oversight committee questions irs commissioner john koskinen about how his agency handled applications for tax exempt status for nonprofit groups. then a senate hearing on security breaches at retailers that compromised consumers financial data. and later, a hearing on management failures at the federal agency that secures u.s. nuclear stockpiles. just before this house oversight hearing got underway, irs commissioner john koskinen was talking with chairman darrell issa. mr. koskinen was called before
the committee to answer questions about how the irs handled tax exempt status and its compliance with the committee's investigation into potential irs abuses. the oversight committee has subpoenaed e-mail of former irs tax exempt organization director, who has refused to testify before the committee. this part of the hearing is one hour and a half. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [gavel pounds]
the committee will come to order. would you please close the doors? thank you. the oversight committee exists to secure two fundamental parables. first, americans have the right to know that the money that washington takes from them is well spent, and second, america deserves an efficient, effective government that works for them. on this committee, we protect these rights. our solemn responsibility is to be accountable to taxpayers, because taxpayers have a right to know what they get from their government. it is our job to work tirelessly in partnership with citizen watchdogs to deliver the fax the american people -- deliver the fax to the mac and people and bring reforms to the federal bureaucracy. ople and bring genuine reform to the federal bureaucracy. it is now my privilege to
recognize the ranking member for their opening statement. >> thank you. commissioner koskinen, i want to thank you for being here this morning and for calling this hearing. it is very important that we look at what the inspector general for the treasury recommended, and take a look back at the research that he did. the treasurygo, inspector general for tax administration, russell george, issued a report concluding that the irs employees used " inappropriate criteria" to identify tax-exempt applications for review. i want to revisit the findings of this report. the idea is there was an effective management, and that is a quote, at the irs. the first line of the results section of the report said this began with employees indiscriminate use of the irs office in cincinnati. i did not say that, though i.g.
said that. they went on to say that these employees, "developed and used inappropriate criteria to identify applications of organizations with the words tea party in their names." said theseso employees, "developed and implemented inappropriate criteria in part due to insufficient oversight provided by management." i.g. reports that former irs official did not disclose the use of the inappropriate criteria until 2011, a year after it began. again, i do not say that, the i.g. said that. ordered she immediately the practice does stop, the ig stated the employees began using different inappropriate criteria , "without management knowledge."
contrast, the inspector general never found any evidence to support the central republican accusation in this investigation this was a political collusion directed by or on behalf of the white house. before our committee received a single document or interviewed , mr. issa went on television and said, "this was the targeting of the president's political enemies, which effectively lies about it during the election." similarly, representative rogers, the chairman of the committee on appropriations stated on national television, of the white"out house, the iris would engage in shutting down or trying to shut down the conservative political viewpoint across the country, an enemies list that revels that of other president some time ago." representative dave camp, chairman of the ways and means
committee said, "this appears to be just the latest example of a culture of coverups and political intimidation in this administration." the inspector general testified no evidence to support these wild political accusations. accordingeported that to the interviews they conducted, the inappropriate criteria, and i quote, or not individual -- influenced by any individual organizations outside of the irs. the i.g. said they identified over 5000 e-mail and found no identification on the action of the iris employees. rather than continue the search for nonexisting connections to the white house, i believe the committee should focus squarely on the recommendations made by the inspector general. made nine recommendations in his report last may.
as of february this year, the irs now reports it has completed all mine. -- all nine. the i.g. recommend the irs change their screening and approval process. ended with the irs so-called "be -- on the lookout" list. they also ensure that applicants are approved or denied expeditiously. in response, the irs has made progress,t closing 87% of these cases. i want to thank the commissioner , danny warfel, for the cooperation. i disagree with their failure to produce documents at committee's request. nothing could be further from the truth. more than 250 irs employees have
sent nearly -- spent nearly 100,000 hours responding to congressional requests. they have delivered more than 420,000 pages of documents to this committee and they have spent at least $14 million doing so. they hav the chairman's stamens to disregard these facts are at odds of the chairman of the ways and means committee which issued a press release this month raising the iris for the quad operation with document request -- praising the irs for their cooperation with document requests. commissioner, i want to thank you for your efforts during this investigation and for your exceptional cooperation. things investigation and for your exceptional cooperation and i want to thank all of those irs employees who are working so hard and tirelessly to do their jobs and with that, mr. chairman, i thank you and i yield back.
>> thank the gentleman. i am pleased to welcome our witness, mr. -- commissioner john koskinen. he was appointed by the president to report and restore trust and accountability to the irs. commissioner, you have a difficult task ahead of you. the american people do not have, in my opening statement says any faith, but they certainly don't have the faith they once had in the irs to be truly a nonpartisan, nonpolitical tax collector. and rightfully so. does nonpartisan, nonpolitical agency target certain groups based on their names or political ideology? the irs did. does a nonpartisan or nonpolitical agency conspire to leak the findings of an independent inspector general report? the irs did. does a nonpartisan, nonpolitical agency withhold documents
requested during a congressional investigation subject to a lawful subpoena? the irs does, did, and continues to. does a nonpartisan, nonpolitical agency reinterpret laws protecting taxpayer information when it appears their employees violated the law? the irs does. does a nonpartisan, nonpolitical agency blatantly ignore congressional subpoena? again, the irs continues to. the perform people believe the irs is now a politicized agency because the irs is a politicized agency. our constituents deserve better than this, commissioner. you are the president's man at the irs. you are one of only two political appointees, but it's clear that individuals acted on their politics and we now have some, but only some of the
e-mails to prove it. you were brought in to do a very hard job and no doubt, you ask yourself every day, why did i get and ask for and accept up with of the hardest jobs anyone could ever have in washington and i appreciate that you are there and that you want to do that job. one of the ways you can do it is by ordering your people to simply comply with outstanding subpoenas. the simple fact is your response to the irs targeting scandal has been bold by the ranking member standard and dismal by my standard. this committee doesn't count how many documents are produced but we do count when documents clearly responsive to a subpoena are clearly not delivered. the committee has made, excuse
me, has made document requests almost 11 months ago that are still unfulfilled. i issued two subpoenas. the second to you personally. and they're still outstanding and this is unacceptable. unfortunately, you've been more concerned with managing the political fallout than cooperating with congress or at least this committee. i requested that you produce all of lois learner's e-mails to this committee. she won't talk to us so these e-mails are the next best substitute and we need these e-mails and you know we are not only entitled to them, but by all that is holy, we deserve, the american people deserve access to know why somebody, who cites citizens united, cites political gains including the outcome of senate majority, who cites in a public speech
statements about we feed to fix it because the fec can't do it, who cites they want us to do it and then takes the fifth when we ask who "they" are, those e-mails in their entirety, are clearly responsive. these are easy requests. and one that can -- that were made back in may but have not been honored and that request is one that you said you would work to fully comply. i understand you reached an argument with the ways and means committee to produce a limited subset of miss learner's e-mails. let me make it very clear. your agreement with ways and means, without a subpoena, does not satisfy your obligation under a subpoena to produce all of her e-mails to this committee. commissioner, your objection or your refusal to cooperate with the committee delays bringing
the truth, costs the american people the confidence they hoped to rebuild an clearly is running up the cost to the american taxpayer. i know you want to bring this investigation to a close as soon as possible and i do too. but the only way you can do that is to fully comply with our request. and i hope you will take that to heart today. and i yield back. >> i now recognize the gentleman from ohio for his opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would like to provide a little context for today's hearing. back to january of 2010, the president of the united states in the state of the union address called out the supreme court regarding the citizens united decision. that same year 2010 the president numerous times talked about tea party groups as shadowy groups who would hurt our democracy. that same year, senator schumer says we're going to get to the bottom of this encouraged the
irs to investigate. senator baucus that same year asked the irs to investigate c 4 applications and c 4 groups. senator durbin asked the irs to investigate crossroads gps. and then in that same year, 2010, two weeks before the election, october 19th, at duke university, lois learner gives a speech and she says this. the supreme court dealt a huge blow on the citizens united decision and everyone is up in arms because they don't like it. they want the irs to fix the problem. the irs laws are not set up to fix the problem. c4s can do straight political activity so everybody is screaming at us right now. who's everybody? everybody is not everybody. everybody is the president and democrat senators who asked her to do something. fix it now before the election. lois learner says, i can't do anything right now. she couldn't fix it before the
2010 midterm election but what she could do is start a project to deal with it in the future and that's what she did. that same fall she sent an e-mail just weeks before the midterm election, learner tells her colleagues let's do a c 4 project next year. she also says, we need to be cautious so it isn't a per se political project. in fact, the chairman put this e-mail up in our last hearing. per se political project, that's code for it is a political project we have to make it look like it's not a political project. in early 2011 lois learner starts -- orders the multitiered review of c 4 applications. you know what that is? that's code for we're going to approve these people. make it difficult. that's part of the c 4 project. make no mistake she put washington in charge. this e-mail is one that the chairman put up at our last meeting. tea party matter very dangerous.
cincy should probably not have these cases. so this narrative about cincinnati line agents and cincinnati doing this is false. she ordered them not to have these cases. and then what happened? lois lerner got caught with her hand in the cookie jar. tea party groups came to us and said we're being harassed. we asked the inspector general to do an investigation. he did the audit. and then before he can release the audit, unprecedented before he releases the audit lois lerner in a speech in front of the bar association here in this town with a planted question from a friend reveals that yes, targeting was taking place. and what did she do? she throws the cincinnati people under the bus. the very people she said shouldn't have the cases, she throws them, good civil servants, she throws them under the bus. and here's the real kicker. lois lerner, who did this project from the pressure from the president and democrat senators, who did this project, she won't talk to us. she won't talk to us and our witness today won't give us her e-mails. even though we subpoenaed them over six months ago.
that's what -- mr. chairman, lois lerner won't talk to us. she'll talk to the justice department because she knows that investigation. she'll talk to the people who can put her in jail and she won't talk to us and the guy who can give us the e-mails won't give us the e-mails. here's why today's hearing is so important. the c-4 rule that's being proposed that got 149,000 comments would codify what lois lerner put in to practice. would, in fact, accomplish the goal that she set out to do in 2010. the c-4 rule, we had a hearing three weeks ago, mr. chairman. we had a hearing three weeks ago where we had aclu, tea party patriots, the motorcyclists association of america and the homeschool legal defense. all four of those groups came to that hearing and you know what they all said? this rule stinks, and should be thrown out. think about that. from the aclu, to the tea party, from homeschoolers to harley riders, everyone knows this rule stinks. everyone knows, except the irs.
and now today, we get a chance, finally, to question the guy in charge of this rule, running this agency, here's the final thing, mr. chairman, i'll yield back. the same people who pressured lois lerner to fix the problem are the same people who picked john koskinen to finish the job. that's where we're at. and all we're asking is, give us the e-mails. throw this rule in the trash because everyone knows it -- the only people who want this rule are this administration and the irs. everyone else knows this thing stinks. everyone else knows it. that's why today's hearing is so important, mr. chairman. with that i yield back. >> thank you. we now recognize the gentleman from virginia for an opening statement on behalf of mr. cartwright. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and mr. koskinen, welcome back. i remember working with you on y2k, and you did a great job then, and i certainly hope you'll do a great job now. i certainly think you're a great
choice to be the new commissioner of the irs. in listening to statements from the other side of the aisle, one might think that the irs has just stonewalled the congress and has been completely uncooperative. and yet since the release of the audit report the irs has produced 420,000 pages of documents to this committee, facilitated 32 interviews, of current and former irs employees, and testified at six separate hearings. that's not noncooperation. in addition, on march 7th, 2014, congressman dave camp, chairman of the ways and means committee, issued a press release, commending the irs on its cooperation with the committee, and in particular, its production of documents.
he stated, and i quote, this is a significant step forward, and will help us complete the investigation. that cooperation included an agreement with the ways and means committee in terms of which e-mails, in fact, would be provided. the chairman says he shares your goal of your desire to want to end this investigation but he needs more cooperation. and i certainly take the chairman at his word. but one has the suspicion that some of our friends on the other side of the aisle, the last thing in the world they'd do is end this ongoing if you can call it that, investigation. because it serves their political aims. mr. jordan just cited a panel we had. i was at that hearing. and one had the impression that this is all feeding the base. it's designed to get, you know, certain groups all riled up in time for midterm elections -- >> will the gentleman yield for
a question? >> i'm going to finish my statement, mr. jordan, as you were allowed to finish yours. and that the serious purpose of investigation seems to be lost in the mire and the muck. this committee on a partisan vote decided that a citizen who happened to work for irs, not a heroic figure in this story, but a citizen, protected by constitutional rights, had, in fact, waived her rights. a very dubious finding in light of the long case history in the courts, going back to the mccarthy era, when people needed that fifth amendment to make sure they weren't entrapped by their own words. by starr chambers or by people willing to play fast and loose with facts and with the truth to make some political point. and the fact that you might be an unwitting victim, you're a casualty of war.
none of my colleagues on this committee, of course, would engage in that kind of thing. but to strip an american citizen or claim to strip an american citizen of her fifth amendment right, a right that was enshrined as sacred by the founders, who had been treated to the tender loving mercies of then-british colonial justice. it stung so much that they wanted to protect every american citizen from that kind of treatment. even if they might be hiding something. even if they weren't heroic figures. precisely why the fifth amendment was there. so, mr. koskinen, there are some of us here who wish you well, and will certainly cooperate with you and try to make sure yours is a successful tenure. obviously to the extent that you can cooperate even more fully with this committee, that would be welcome. but, be aware, that
unfortunately this committee has a habit sometimes of cherry-picking backs and of leaking, i heard the chairman complain about the irs actually leaking documents. my, my. that would be a terrible thing, if true. certainly not something we ever do in this committee. but just in case, be prepared. because that may happen to you, too. so thank you for your cooperation, but be on your guard because there's something else at work here. i yield back. >> members may have seven days in which to submit opening statements for the record, including extraneous materials therein. the chair now welcomes the honorable john koskinen, who is the commissioner of the internal revenue service. welcome. pursuant to the rules, all witnesses are duly sworn. would you please rise, raise your right hand and take the oath. do you solemnly swear or affirm that the testimony you are about to give will be the truth, the
whole truth, and nothing but the truth? >> i do. >> please be seated. let the record reflect the witness answered in the affirmative. you're a seasoned pro at this, but -- and i will remind everyone your entire statement is in the record, and it's been distributed in packets, and you may summarize as you see fit. recognized. >> thank you. good morning. chairman issa, ranking member cummings, members of the committee. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss irs activities in regard to the determinations process for tax exempt status. i'm honored to serve as the irs commissioner, and to have the opportunity to lead this agency, and its dedicated employees, because i believe that the success of the irs is vital for this country. one of my primary responsibilities as irs commissioner is to restore whatever public trust has been lost as a result of the management problems that came to
light last year in regard to the application process for 501(c)(4) status. taxpayers need to be confident that the irs will treat them fairly, no matter what their backgrounds, their affiliations, who they voted for in the last election. i am committed to ensuring we restore and maintain that trust. i'm pleased to report to you that the irs has made significant progress in addressing the issues and concerns with the 501(c)(4) determinations process. first of all, we've been resp d responding to the recommendations made by the treasury inspector general for tax administration. it was the inspector general's report in may of last year that found applications for 501(c)(4) status had been screened using inappropriate criteria. as of late january of this year, we completed action on all nine of the inspector general's recommendations. our actions have included reducing the inventory of 501(c)(4) applications, including the group of 145 cases
in the so-called priority backlog, that is those that were pending for more than 120 days on may 2013. as of this month, 126 of those cases have been closed. including 98 that were approved. of those 98, 43 took advantage of a self-certification procedure we offered last year. also in response to the inspector general, the treasury and irs issued proposed regulations in november that are intended to provide clarity in determining the extent to which 501(c)(4) organizations may engage in political activity without endangering their tax exempt status. as you know, we have received over 150,000 comments on that draft. although i do not control by myself the rulemaking process, the treasury and irs have a long-standing history of working cooperatively in this regard, and i will do my best to ensure that any final regulation is fair to everyone, clear, and easy to administer.
along with the actions we've taken in response to the inspector general, we continue to make every effort to cooperate with the six ongoing investigations into the 501(c)(4) determinations process. including this committee's investigations. over the last 18 months, the irs has devoted significant resources to this committee's investigation and requests for information, as well as those of other congressional committees. more than 250 irs employees have spent nearly 100,000 hours working directly on complying with the investigations at a direct cost of $8 million. we also had to add capacity to our computer systems to make sure we were protecting taxpayer information while processing these materials. we estimate that work costs another $6 million or more. to date we have produced more than 690,000 pages of unredacted documents to the house ways and means committee and the senate finance committees, which have sections 6103 authority which
means they can see taxpayer information. we've already produced more than 420,000 pages of redacted documents to this committee, and the senate permanent committee on -- and subcommittee on investigations. last week we were pleased to announce that we believe we have completed our productions to the ways and means and finance committees of all documents we have identified related to the processing and review of applications for tax exempt status as described in the may 2013 inspector general report. we are continuing to cooperate with this committee and i would stress that, we are continuing to cooperate with this committee, and others receiving redacted documents, and we will continue redacting and providing documents until that process is complete. as part of that process it's my understanding we will be delivering a substantial number of documents to this committee later today as part of the ongoing process. in light of those document productions, i hope that the investigations of the c-4 determinations process can be
concluded in the very near future. in the event that this committee would decide to investigate other matters pertaining to the r-4 area such as the rulemaking process or the examinations process, the irs stands ready to cooperate with you. mr. chairman, that concludes my statement. i would be happy to take your questions. >> thank you. i'll recognize myself for a round of questioning. did you need to upgrade your computers in order to produce of lois lerner's e-mails? >> i'm sorry -- >> did you need to upgrade your computers to produce all of lois lerner's e-mails? >> we have to upgrade our computers to produce all of the e-mails and documents. >> commissioner i appreciate that and my time is limited. i recently pulled all of my e-mails off of the house computers. it took one person at house call, a part of a very small part of a