Bearing little resemblance to the smug, condescending person who sat before Congress earlier in the week, a suddenly affable Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen showed up Thursday at CNN to engage in a little damage control.
But found himself being grilled, yet again.
CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer said “it’s a pretty serious allegation” to be called a liar — a reference to U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., telling the commissioner that he did not believe him.
“We take the entire question [IRS scandal] seriously, from the start,” Koskinen replied.
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While the commissioner told Congress he didn’t owe them an apology, he was willing to offer one Thursday.
“I apologize to anybody who had their applications held up needlessly,” Koskinen said. “Everybody needs to be confident that the IRS is going to treat them fairly, Republicans, Democrats, whatever organization they belong to. It’s a serious matter.”
Pulling from Twitter, Blitzer asked: “Why shouldn’t taxpayers use the crashed hard drive excuse when undergoing an IRS audit?”
Koskinen dismissed the idea that a double standard exists, and suggested the agency would give taxpayers the benefit of the doubt.
“If you lose a document, it doesn’t mean you lose the argument,” he said.
Blitzer pointed out that Koskinen has donated to Democrats, then asked him to “reassure the American people that you are not going to let your partisanship interfere with this investigation.”
“I’ve never been a partisan operative or political operative,” Koskinen said. “I’ve contributed to campaigns for the last 40 or 50 years, many of them friends. At this point in my career, it’s not my intention at all to play games with Congress, my goal is to help restore people’s faith in a critical institution for the country, the IRS.”
“As I said, people need to feel comfortable that it’s not a politicized agency, that it treats people fairly no matter who they are,” concluded the man who had just spent the better part of 14 minutes defending the Obama administration.
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