Late night Capitol Hill hearing over lost IRS e-mails leads to accusations of a ''cover up'' from Republicans, with Democrats saying GOP is creating political theater. Mana Rabiee reports.
Even by Washington standards, Monday night's hearing on Capital Hill, about 2 million lost e-mails at the IRS, was especially contentious. NATS "I asked a question." "And I answered it." House Committee Chair Darrell Issa accused IRS Commissioner John Koskinen of trying to hide the facts around the lost e-mails. They were written by former senior IRS official Lois Lerner. She's at the center of a congressional investigation to see if the IRS put unfair scrutiny on conservative groups over their the tax-exempt status. Koskinen said hundreds of thousands of her e-mails were handed over to the oversight committee. But last week the IRS also said a computer crash deleted many of her other e-mails. That's angered Republicans, who want those documents for their investigation, and prompted Issa to accuse the IRS chief of a cover up. SOUNDBITE: IRS COMMISSIONER JOHN KOSKINEN SAYING: "All the e-mails we have will be provided. I did not say we will provide e-mails that disappeared, if you have a magical way to do that, I'd be happy to know about it." Democrats, in turn, say Republicans are rehashing baseless accusations from last year, to stir the Republican voter base ahead of mid-term elections in November. SOUNDBITE: DEMOCRATIC REPRESENTATIVE GERRY CONNOLLY SAYING: "The fact that you would be subjected tonight to the barrage of innuendo and accusations backed up by nothing for the purpose of political theater is to me reckless and disgraceful." Round two of the IRS hearings continues Tuesday. Republicans intend to link the issue to the White House, and Issa's committee has subpoenaed White House layer Jennifer O'Connor, formerly with the IRS, to testify.