June 27th, 2014
08:30 PM ET
4 years ago

Koskinen's donations raised questions as House GOP calls for more documents

(CNN) - Internal Revenue Service chief John Koskinen's own political leanings are coming into question as the controversy continues to unfold involving the agency’s targeting of certain political groups.

Over the past 30 years, Koskinen has given more than $100,000 to Democratic causes, according to FEC filings. But the government veteran downplayed his political activity, telling CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Thursday, "I've never been a partisan operative, a political operative."

"I was actually asked by the Bush administration to come in and work on Freddie Mac," he said in an interview that aired on "The Situation Room."

The IRS controversy became more convoluted last week when the agency announced the destruction of e-mails from former IRS official Lois Lerner, lost in an apparent hard drive crash.

The agency did not reveal for months that Lerner's emails had been lost - stirring further Republican outrage with the agency and calling into question its officials' credibility in the investigation.

Top IRS official beats back Republican barrage

House Republicans on Friday called for more documents and information from the Obama administration about the circumstances surrounding the missing documents.

“We still can’t get straight answers from the IRS or this administration about the circumstances of the destroyed IRS e-mails," House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp and Rep. Charles Boustany of Louisiana said in a statement.

"And, we now know that the IRS, Treasury and White House knew that years’ worth of Lerner emails conveniently were destroyed, yet kept it secret from Congress. This administration needs to live up to the transparency and openness it promised, and give this committee all the documents it needs to complete its investigation,” the statement said.

Republicans are calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the agency over the missing e-mails.

Asked by Blitzer whether a criminal investigation was warranted, Koskinen replied: "I don't think ... at this time there's any evidence of that."

Democrats, meanwhile, are accusing House Republicans of politicizing the IRS investigation, noting that some liberal groups seeking tax-exempt status also apparently were targeted by the agency.

CNN's Dana Davidsen, Tom Cohen and Tom Foreman contributed to this report.

Filed under: IRS
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Malory Archer

    limited Federal government
    Using the power of the Federal government to silence political opposition is un-American and criminal.

    The IRS must be held accountable for its political targeting, harassment and intimidation of conservative groups that oppose the policies of the current administration. If not, expect more of the same each time the party in the White House changes.


    Your comment might have merit were it not for the fact dem groups were the only ones who were actually harmed by these actions.

    June 28, 2014 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  2. it must be said

    The Obama administration consists of loyal Obama political hacks that all cover for and back one another up. They refuse to provide evidence (IRS,Fast&Furious,Benghazi), or simply destroy it(IRS,EPA). They refuse to investigate each other (Eric Holder), or if they do, it is a sham (Hillary Clinton ARB). They do not work for the people of this country. They work for themselves, for the corrupt and criminal enterprise known as the Democrat Party.

    Nancy Pelosi talked about draining the swamp. Well the Democrat Party is proving with absolute certainty, IT IS THE SWAMP. November can't get here fast enough.

    June 28, 2014 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  3. jboh

    $100K over 30yrs. The same amount the Kochs have announced they plan to spend on a County Comissioners' race in Ironton Co Wisc, population 5600. Let's not forget that a Bush appointee was IRS head when the program in question was developed and implemented. Lerner was also a W appointee. Just which administration is being protected? When witch hunter Issa asked him to raise his hand, and then said "higher", Issa showed his arrogant tyranny.

    June 28, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  4. Anonymous

    Charge both Lerner and Koskinen, to start with. Lerner for corruption and criminal behavior, and Koskinen for attempting to lie to Congress, and cover up. Both are clearly GUILTY, and need to be formally charged.

    June 28, 2014 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  5. DeepThoughts

    The problem with ideologies is that all evidence must point in the direction to support it, or it will fail. An ideology is a "perfect" theory of how things should work in a "perfect" world. The US citizens know this is a fallacy. In order to maintain the "ideal" part of the ideology, all conflicting evidence of its shortcomings must be ignored, spun, or destroyed.

    June 28, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  6. Thomas

    So called Religious Islamic Tea Party Non Profit Groups should be audited .

    It just makes sense

    June 28, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  7. The Real Tom Paine

    So, I guess individual campaign donations are not allowed because a man has contributed money towards Democrats? My, my, my, what a group of hypocrites the Right is on this subject. I guess we've learned how selective the outrage really is among those on the Right. Free speech for those who donate to the Party of Oligarchy, and the rest of us cannot be trusted.

    June 28, 2014 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  8. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    $100,000 over 30 years is nothing for a wealthy person. The Kocks spend more than that on one race in one election and the MSM is trying to hype THIS up. It's laughable at best.

    Now if he had donated millions in just a few years we'd have something to talk about.

    June 28, 2014 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  9. The Real Tom Paine

    I'm waiting for Issa to issue a subpoena for 100 years of IRS emails. Lets see how deep this criminality runs!

    June 28, 2014 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  10. Doug

    It's a shame that Congress did not pursue Bush & Cheney for war crimes for torture & Iraq war.

    June 28, 2014 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  11. Tom

    A Democratic President chose a Democrat who made modest contributions to Democratic causes to head the IRS? Now there's a shocker! I'm sure nothing like that ever happened in a Republican administration. This is just another case of faux outrage from crazy Republicans who see everything that doesn't go their way as some kind of sinister conspiracy.

    June 28, 2014 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  12. jrsgta

    Once again the GOP are faking governing, and wasting tax dollars.

    June 28, 2014 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  13. GUAL

    Is CNN still so liberal that refused to print the truth of the facts to the American people ?

    June 28, 2014 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  14. jboh

    Funny how it was a conservative TEA/GOP dept. head who approved and ordered the implementaion of the IRS program. Funny how this whole witch hunt only started a few months after the W appointee who headed the IRS left. Koskinen wasn't in charge when the program under investigation was started. Just which administration is W appointee Lerner trying to protect? Clearly Cheney/W.

    June 28, 2014 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    jboh, It doesn't matter who appointed them. It matters what they did. L Lerner and the IRS officials are hiding something and they are for sure not forthcoming about anything. They plead the 5th, delay, deny, lose emails, crash computers with no backup. Anyone who is behind the IRS on this issue is certainly a political hack from the Democratic side of the aisle.

    June 28, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  16. Fed up

    I have to agree with Wes here. What a disaster.

    June 28, 2014 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  17. Dr. Brown

    Hypocracy is totally lost on the gop, simply shameless .

    June 28, 2014 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Democrats simply can't stand it when they see themselves being brought to the ground and caught in their own lies.

    June 28, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  19. J Anthony

    This is such a waste of time. None of those groups deserve tax-exempt status. Once again the rightwing nutbags distract us from the root-problem, and play power-games. The spineless left keep screwing up and allow the Republicans to keep the focus off of things that matter. You iidiots commenting here who pray for Obama to die or step down, get a grip. Contribute something positive for once in your life. This pointless bickering over crap both parties do is idiotic.

    June 28, 2014 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  20. Jim

    76% of all Americans believe that the emails where deliberately destroyed.This includes 74% of independents and 63% of democrats. Americans deserve answers and Holder needs to stop hiding in a closet.

    June 28, 2014 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  21. barky

    Hey look. Its Mr Yuck.

    June 28, 2014 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  22. Mary

    These bloggers are missing the issue on the donation. Of course any employee is free to donate heir personal money. The issue is that the head of IRS through his donations has shown who is loyal to and where his affiliations lie. He, therefore, can NOT be objective and should not be trusted to provide an unbiased report. It is typical of the liberals convoluting and triangulating the issues to spin the issues and make it about the donations and not about the fact that Koskinen can not be trusted to be unbiased or objective. Independent investigators should be appointed.

    June 28, 2014 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  23. alex

    So let me get this straight: neo-cons are okay with unknown billionaires and private corporations donating billions of untraced dollars to campaigns, but if an American citizen, over the course of his lifetime, donates a few thousand, that's shady? Just more of the same anti-working class hatred from the neo-cons.

    June 28, 2014 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  24. Big Al

    @ jboh: '$100K over 30yrs. The same amount the Kochs have announced they plan to spend on a County Comissioners' race in Ironton Co Wisc, population 5600."

    which one of the Koch brothers head the IRS? Which Koch brother has been called to testify before the House of Representative concerning abuses by the IRS?

    June 28, 2014 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  25. Alan

    Let's appoint a Special Prosecuter and see if all these comment posters who have suddenly become rabid defenders of the IRS are correct. I'm a fairly staunch Conservative, but if the day comes that I've drank so much partisan Koolaid that I begin siding with the IRS, please put me out of my misery because I've clearly lost my mind.

    June 28, 2014 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
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