There was high drama in Friday morning’s House Ways and Means Committee hearing on the IRS’s “lost emails” (translate that to old equipment that probably wasn’t helped by being defunded by the same party now putting on the witch hunt). Republicans like Paul Ryan took to the stage to hyperventilate at John Koskinen, the IRS Commissioner, accusing him of lying to the American people over lost emails.
Ways and Means Committee Chairman Camp (R-MI) has been issuing press releases like mad, building up a fevered case of missing emails that sounds pretty suspicious. Earlier this week he charged, “We now know documents from other central figures, like Nicole Flax, are missing… It looks like the American people were lied to and the IRS tried to cover-up the fact it conveniently lost key documents in this investigation.”
So, we now KNOW this. You follow? It’s a fact in evidence. Oh, the Obama liberals are at it again. Camp continued, “Plot lines in Hollywood are more believable than what we are getting from this White House and the IRS.”
Today he accused,“We are missing the emails of seven IRS officials and during periods critical to this investigation.”
Wow. This is really terrible. Lost emails? A cover up? Lying to the public? If this is anything like the 5 million emails that were potentially missing during the Bush administration along with the improper usage of the RNC server, hang them all! But wait…
Commissioner Koskinen explained today that Republicans really need to stop rushing to judgment before the facts are in, because it’s impossible to have a rational discussion without facts. Indeed, had Republicans waited until the facts were uncovered, they would have learned that Nicole Flax had two computers and only one crashed.
The portable computer that she used while traveling is the computer that crashed. (It might be nice to upgrade their equipment one day instead of giving corporations yet another tax subsidy. Just a thought if Republicans are going to demand that equipment never fail.)
Koskinen explained, “There’s been a question as to why I didn’t advise Congress earlier and my experience has been than we do better to have a rational discussion when you know all the facts. It’s shown by the fact that on Monday we were advised Monday morning that there were preliminary indications that there were difficulties with a handful of custodians. That information was passed onto the staff of this committee on Monday afternoon. Immediately thereafter rather than asking us for additional information a press release went out from this committee identifying Nicole Flax as a particularly interesting person to this committee and stating that Nicole Flax’s e-mails have been lost. Had the committee waited to issue that release until we knew further information which were continuing to provide, they would have discovered that Nicole Flax had two computers. Her office computer which she used during the day and she had a travel computer, a portable. It was the portable computer that crashed. It ran on the same e-mail system as her office system.”
“So it turns out there is no indication that a single Nicole Flax e-mail has been lost, notwithstanding the press release and statements out of this committee. Those press releases with regard to Nicole Flax were inaccurate and misleading and it demonstrates why we’ll provide this committee a full report about the custodian review when it is completed. And we are not going to dribble out the information and have it played out in the press.”
Oh. So all of this hyperventilating about lying and scandals and cover ups and it was the second computer that crashed, and while Republicans were making these accusations, the facts were not yet in evidence. They made the accusations before the facts were established. Why is that? “Plot lines in Hollywood are more believable than what we are getting from
this White House and the IRS the Republican Party.”
Don’t hate on Republicans for prematurely freaking out yet again — you know they don’t understand technology and don’t understand the relationship between funding and having working equipment. No doubt there are plenty of equipment issues at the IRS and this creates a problem for transparency, but a Republican deliberate defunding campaign does not translate into a Democratic cover-up. At any rate, in this case, there is no evidence that the emails are lost.
At some point, the media is going to have to start calling foul on this kind of premature hysteria, in which Republicans state as facts things not yet in evidence.
It has not been established that a single Flax email is lost, but we resume the Republican Manufactured Drama That Is Being Played In Order to Avoid Real Issues because this is what the GOP does now instead of legislating.