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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  June 24, 2014 5:00am-7:01am EDT

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>> it is a disaster recovery tape that has all e-mails and is a complicated thing to extract e-mails, but i have not seen any mouse to explain why they did not. it would be difficult, but don't know why. >> she said the irs was going to extraordinary lengths. >> that's correct. >> but it is backed up on tape. >> for six months, yes. >> and that was within the six month window. why did you did the backup? >> all i know about that is that the backup takes art -- take a disaster recovery takes the put everything in.
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>> made a big point about all the effort. she eddy mills going from april -- two months from april, the would have been 42 is with the back of available. we need to explore this. did a year you -- >> the question that was just asked, whether the inspector general, when they did there review of the determination process was aware that they know had crashed. he said, i do not think that they were. >> the inspector general is trying to get to the bottom of this matter. no one in forms and that the computer crashed? >> nothing to my understanding. no. >> or their withholding
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information? >> i was not there. >> the insect @booktv specter general has access to all e-mails and any records that he would like and i have no indication that anyone would -- >> did they ask? >> i have no idea. jeff. >> you think it is reasonable for us to ask that question? >> that would be fine. >> the plan to. june 3rd 2011. dade -- dave kent did ask. the division's and/or offices, contributed to the decision to investigate their will cheer an irs audit while was never brought to the attention of the committee that all or a mouse or not available.
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i don't understand why the irs did not dive into this. it was known years before. did you know or should do reasonably have known that you did not have the most? >> if you think you have all the wells? >> reviewing the entire process to find out where the nose might be.
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>> wheat would investigate. why did he say we confine the amount? >> is that not clear? >> at that point i would have told you we will get 100 percent of the in mel's we have. >> reason to know for years, the reason some know. >> have not been there for years. i've been there for six months. >> you had reason to know. you have reason to know that there was a problem, and you did nothing to indicate there was a problem, correct? >> the gentleman's time is expired, but you may answer. >> i did not indicate at that time because i did not know the
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nature of the problem. >> what you thought there might be a problem. >> the journalist time has expired. >> if you will please answer that question. >> vigilance time has expired. >> have testified before. at that time i did not know the nature. that is that there was a question being investigated. >> at thank the gentleman and apologize. >> did deceive would -- the official record or that the irs is necessarily thinking that all these famous as a part of the official record relevant to the bar records at. e-mails critical, and i feel like it is absolutely unacceptable that a government agency with such a critical public mission on looking at a
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report it addresses the inadequate in no preservation procedures across government. i would like to ask unanimous consent that this be included in the record. >> without objection, so ordered >> i would like to hear what steps you have taken or planned to take to ensure better electronic record-keeping of the ira's god for? >> take a look at what it would take to develop an e-mail system that was much easier to search. right now, anything from 90,000
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employees have to get a 90,000 hard drives. was sold more recently that we have looked at creating in effect a broader server that would allow us to preserve e-mails. we are reviewing at and will also review whether we can move through the national records act paper systems and electronic system. that is part of the upper end of the bell system. >> thank you. june 17th and the national archives and read it -- administration sent a letter regarding the loss of the e-mails. is that correct? >> that is my understanding. i have not seen the letter. >> what they are required to do is request a report of investigations within the agency that has an unauthorized disposal of federal records. is that correct. >> that is why understanding. >> it turns out that these requests are commonplace among
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federal agencies. according to the national archives to 92 similar requests of federal agencies during the bush and ministration. >> we would be delighted to do that and corporate with all investigations. >> what steps have the irs under state into -- taken to understand the circumstances around the document? >> i testified at some length that we have reviewed all of the mel's subject to the search terms of a custodian we have been working with. constitute as many mills as provided. >> would it be accurate, some of the nose of been lost. your understanding that we cover
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as many of those in else but they would be located in other people's system, hard drives. she said to me now to another official that you could probably recover that in no that was lost >> that is correct. in the other in no, one of the custodians. >> in april the irs was still trying to recover as many of those as possible. >> correct. we are continuing to produce the 43 those and committed to produce. >> proposed reallocating
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$180 million in agency funds to sustain and replace an eye to the infrastructure for is it fair to say these contributed to the current challenges that the irs? >> it is true. our challenge. we are still moving people into windows seven. >> almost out of time. thank you for your continuing public-service. i yield back. >> i think the gentle lady. now go to visit woman from michigan. >> he said several times that her in knows be found. >> am i correct? >> that's correct there are some who might conjecture can you
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understand that? >> i don't know what our concerns are. >> and we never will. at least at this point. it is interesting that that took place. >> let me ask you, have you fired anybody under staff that did not give you an of affirmation so that you would have made the statement more accurate for us about affirmation contained in e-mails and you could not provide to us but now we find our the people know that the bells about lost the did not tell you? >> i have not fired anyone and no one in my staff that i laura.
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>> no one has been fired? >> and they're is no basis. >> accurately incorrectly and fully answer the oversight committee of congress. >> the purpose of that hearing was to talk generally we talked at length about that. "millie agreed on. >> i can understand people's concerns. >> we had to say last week they provided bnl's. >> why is so difficult to get to the bottom of this because they're is not much. the president himself on may 15th said it is inexcusable and americans are right to be angry. i am angry. i will not tolerate this kind of behavior at any agency,
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especially the irs given the power that it has and the reach that it has into all of our lives. he said, i will do everything in my power to make sure that nothing like this happens again by holding responsible parties accountable. someone much more astute than i once said the ability of the power to tax is the power to destroy. we have seen that, mr. koskinen. before you came into your position we have seen people with first amendment liberties being targeted by the irs, the agency with the power to destroy , and they attempt to do it. and now we cannot get answers completely. >> let me go into something that you said to be back on our statistics that a hearing where you indicated that you were trying to get to the bottom of the controversy and said, congressman, just to make you comfortable, just to make you comfortable if they're is a
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problem that i don't know about them that is my fall. that means a i have not created a culture where problems of the issues it raised from front-line workers and go easily and freely into the tax. >> these issues were raised over time. it's all about that. >> i note that since january 1st thousands of failed this year alone. in your professional career alma times as yours? >> once. the averages three to 5%. that would mean that with 90,000 employees we would expect that we would have between two and 15
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-- >> can it be understood by people then? involved in this greatest investigation in the history of the irs that all of these people, several people and especially the one at the center of this investigation has a mysterious experience of a hard drive crash on this information, information that probably caused lois lerner to plead the fifth. >> i don't know if you consider probably your not, and i will tell you, it is by the mysterious crash. alexis is mysterious where the american people. they do not understand it. frankly, i think there are all sorts of very -- verification is going on stonewalling and i am disappointed. >> i yield back. >> can i ask unanimous consent to enter into the record the op-ed?
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>> without objection is so ordered. >> this hearing has been quite an embarrassment. for over a year now republicans have alleged that the irs was engaged in a conspiracy directed by our behalf of the white house to target this political system, but neither this committee or the and director-general has identified in the evidence to back up this delegation. the whole charade, and you say that we are not allowed to ask about the motive of the members, ashley wrote the ballroom of the hearings themselves, the integrity of the hearing itself, a fact dead, the chairman has
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continued to conclude the outcome without allowing the information to be presented in an impartial and complete way so that the members can do our job this is a serious, but. serious responsibility. i said before that of want to get to the bottom of things. there was wrongdoing at the irs, and we should fix it. but we cannot fix it when the house republicans continue to establish an unfair, unsubstantiated, and unfounded allegations against what we do have to watch are the facts. you may be entitled to europe in, but not air of facts. commissioner, have you since you
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have been in this position identified any evidence that iras and employees were part of a conspiracy and sexually target the president's committee. >> about aware of any evidence. >> thank you. this is the same answer we have received no for 41 other witnesses interviewed by this committee including senior officials at the irs above the treasury department, and the department of justice. the senior group manager in cincinnati told us that it was his employees to first tier of with the inappropriate screening criteria in an attempt to retrieve in similar cases consistently. is that your understanding of how the process can about? >> a conservative republican. in fact, none of the 41
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individuals told the committee the white house directed at to was a justice, or even knew about the conduct. the is what general, russell george ... same thing that he identified no evidence of white house involvement. developing and implementing an appropriate criteria. >> that's my understanding that what i read in the newspapers had herded year. i did not myself and been a leading german that. >> when the inspector general testified before though back -- ways and means committee the inspector general was asked by ranking members and 11 whether he had found evidence of political motivation in the selection of the tax-exempt applicants. in response the inspector general answered, we did not,
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sir. commissioner, do you have any reason to doubt the as director-general findings? >> i do not. >> in addition to all of these findings, on june 18th 2014 the white house sent a letter to the ways and means chairman. this letter explained that the white house also search its records and did not identify any melt between the two from january 2009 until 2011. ask unanimous consent to enter this letter from the white house as stated june 18th. >> without objection so ordered. >> allegations that the white house directed or subliminally coerced the aristarchus applicants for tax-exempt status are unfounded and back up that
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we put these reckless accusations arrest and finally began focusing on the facts. i agree with the other side about as the public is upset. part of the reason they are upset is the behavior of the chairman and this committee of highly politicized this issue. >> the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman's time has expired >> they're sick and tired -- in bottle. >> i'll think it gentlemen. unwellness unanimous consent the article dated february 4th of this year by josh hicks be placed into record in which it shows that the bonuses paid to iris employees in fiscal year 2012 were $89 million as opposed to million dollars that it would
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take to maintain critical documents. with that we go to the gentleman from arizona. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate the gentleman's comments. i would like to sq : do you understand the gravity of what america feels in regards to the ira's? ..
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through the internal revenue service in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens confidence information contained in income tax returns for purposes not authorized by law and to cause in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens income tax audits or other investigations to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner. are you aware that? >> i do recall that. >> that's white serious because i mean if there's one thing i can tell you that the dark light on our history and we talk about missing data. once again missing data nixon tapes have some similarities. once again getting the information so another investigation that we have that takes a judicial watch to get information that was supposed to be given to this committee. you have not given to it so you are aware of all this right? >> i'm not aware that judicial watch program. >> do you read the paper? >> i do read the newspaper.
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>> that's really came about with regards to benghazi on the select committee. that was the kicker because we didn't have that information until we had judicial watch get it for us. so let's go back to the mindset here because i am a dentist and a politician and you are an attorney right? >> i am an attorney but i gave up a practice years ago. steep but the fundamentals never leave. >> one would hope so. >> you are also business man? >> yes i spent 20 years in the private sector. >> you have a problem and you come into this forest fire i'm going to call it you had your eyes wide open right? >> and right? >> and then he would have lots of scrutiny. >> yes i understood that this was a high-profile challenge. >> so you really wanted to.your i's and cross your t's. >> that's has been my approach to writing i've done in 45 years. the. >> you also you have 9000
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employees. >> correct. >> obviously divide and conquer the problem. what you do is you have people you trust to formulate battle plans and a consensus aperture and hold them accountable. >> i spend a lot of time going to the 25 offices talking to 10,000 iris employs primarily front-line workers to hear from them as well. >> so let me ask you a question coming into this. were you bothered by lois lerner's conduct? you have to know about it. here's a lady that has a question and an audience. that's kind of odd wouldn't you say? c. is not the normal way people would behave. >> we are at talking about the irs and seeding a question. that's really kind of odd. what did you take for her comments in taking the fifth of
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not really taking the fifth. what did you think about back? was that kind of odd? >> she has her own words that i don't know her. >> is that typically have the fifth amendment is taken? >> i am not aware fifth amendment practices practices whether that awaits them or not. >> have you seen anyone else take the fifth outweigh? >> i don't think i've seen anyone else take the fifth. >> that is really odd. i have seen a number people take the fifth and i have never seen anyone take the fifth like that then that's pretty contentious. in fact my good friend trey gowdy had a problem with the way she took the fifth and i trust his interpretation of the fifth pretty well but it seems to me that if you have this management style you would know exactly the perceptive than person who told you about the problem. >> there were five different people who reported to me about the situation.
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we have a major effort going on. >> once again they are reporting to you when you are asking them questions holding them responsible right? >> do you all have the same task? >> there are four or five people who are involved regularly in this production effort. i get information from several different people see my time has expired and i've run out of time. i yield back. cf. think the gentleman. now the gentleman from tennessee mr. desjarlais. >> thank you mr. chairman. mr. koskinen first hearing today. it's getting late and there has been a lot of repetition. let's talk a little bit about revenues. we had a discussion earlier about the problem with backing up e-mails at the irs and it was because why? >> because basically the server iras servers can only hold so much data. >> the reason they have not been upgraded?
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c. i understand the cost. see you have a number earlier that it would take to upgrade the system's. >> to actually turn it into an electronic system of the broader server would be somewhere between 10 and $30 million depending on software and what you want to do with their. >> the chairman mentioned earlier how many bonuses were given by the irs employees in 2012. did you know what that number was? >> i did not until i heard the chairman sayed. >> 8900 dollars just in 20 and 12 alone. he talks about how the irs has been underfunded for at least four years and if you want to extrapolate the math i would say you could have upgraded your equipment so the iris could do a better job. do you agree click. >> it's about $1000 per employee. we could find a lot if we gave no pay raises and continued to
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shrink the organization we would have more money but that's not exactly what you design is the best way to design agency agency. cd to note that a million dollars in bonuses were given to employees as back-taxes? >> that issue has come up and we have a program we are negotiating an agreement with the union because we have a commitment that every irs employee will be credited in their taxes and even if they are three to five days late they get a letter of admonishment. >> and knott. >> to hold everybody to the same standards? >> not the same standards as you are she would give people bonuses for not paying taxes? >> anyone who does not comply. they won't get a bonus and we have negotiated that with the union. >> i don't think that necessarily sets well that i think that's fine. do you think the iris improperly
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targeted conservative groups? >> my understanding and i support the igs report that said in his report improper criteria were used. the issue has been whether that turns into targeting or not the earlier reference to the "washington post" that the report itself says improper criteria were used and we have taken all at the igs recommendations accepted them and are implementing them so our goal is it's not going to happen again. >> during the hearing in march he never returned it -- referred to the iris is targeting. do you want to revise that statement? >> they noted the ig had used the word targeting in my point was the ig report says improper criteria but once i did use the word targeting i have now mentioned it in this criteria again but the ig report was improper criteria. either way my point strongly has
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been from the start of the american public deserves to feel that there will not be improper criteria used in people will not be selected other than. >> did anyone ever coach you to say it that way as opposed to targeting? does it sound more palatable palatable? no one ever coach due? >> that is what the ig report says. >> no one told you not to call the irs conduct targeting? >> nobody tells me what to say. i am responsible for the i say. the ig report said inappropriate criteria was used and that is why i referred to in that hearing. >> you're the kind of guy that believes leadership starts at the top. >> i believe it starts at the top in the leaders held accountable for what happens in this agency. >> the irs have acted inappropriately. >> there are seven investigations going on. my position has been once we get
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somebody to write a report in particular in this case where the ig completes its review and issues a report on this issue we can decide with the appropriate next step is great to have yet another investigation starts especially while the ig is going for seems to me waste of money. >> right now the irs does not look too good. don't you think it would be better to clean up the face of the irs? >> when we hear from inspector general to see if he finds there was malfeasance at all. >> okay well my time has expired and i think we'll do people better than what we are seeing here. >> i think the gentleman. we now go to the gentleman from south carolina mr. gowdy. >> thank you mr. chairman. mr. you are an attorney. can you explain to our fellow citizens what it means? exfoliation of the evidence is on a party fails to preserve
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evidence. there is a negative inference that the jury can draw from their failure to preserve the evidence. are you with may? if you destroy destroy documents the jury can infer that those documents weren't going to be good for you. if he failed to keep documents the jury came in for those documents were not going to be good for you. you have heard the phrase exfoliation of evidence haven't you? >> i can't recall it. >> civil hearings criminal hearings. >> i practice law 45 years ago and never went back. >> let me tell you what you would have found. when a party has a duty to preserve evidence or records and they failed to do so there is a negative inference that is drawn from their failure to preserve the evidence. it's common sense, right? if you destroy something the jury has a right to infer that whatever you destroyed would not have been good for you. or else every litigant would destroy whatever evidence that was sent to them.
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do you agree click. >> if you destroy the evidence that people could prove it wouldn't be good for the facts. >> they jury can draw negative inference and that's true if the taxpayer is being sued by the irs administratively civilly or prosecuted criminally and they fail to keep documents the jury can draw negative inference in the fact negative inference ineffective dating keep receipts or e-mails or documents. so if it's true and it applies to the taxpayer are to apply to the irs as well. >> us as a trial or is this a jury? >> administrative civil or criminal if you want to go down that road i'm happy to go down there with you. in fact i'm glad you mentioned it. you have already said multiple times today that there was no evidence that you found of any criminal wrongdoing. i want you to tell me what criminal statutes you have evaluated. >> i have not looked at any. >> talking. >> talking to us as there is no
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criminal wrongdoing if you don't know what statute should look at. >> because i have seen no evidence. >> how do you know what elements of the crime existed if you don't know what statutes applied? i will ask you again. >> i think you can rely on common sense that nothing i've seen. >> instead of the criminal code you want to rely on commonsense? you can can shake your head all you want to. you have said there is no evidence of criminal wrongdoing and i'm asking you what criminal statutes you have preview to reach that conclusion. >> i have reviewed no criminal statute. >> you don't know the elements of the offense. >> i have seen no evidence of wrongdoing. >> that's very different than no evidence of criminal misconduct. >> it seems it would be hard to argue that you have some criminal violation -- sees what did lois lerner main? >> i have no idea. >> what did she mean when she said we need a project that we
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need to be careful that it doesn't appear to be per se political? you don't think that's a violation of 1842? >> i have no idea. >> because you have a look at 1842. you don't have any any idea commissioner whether there's any criminal wrongdoing or not. >> with regard to the production of the evidence and the production of lois lerner e-mails i have seen no evidence of wrongdoing. >> if there were that would be a separate criminal -- what you're saying is you don't have any idea whether she engaged in criminal wrongdoing. you are just saying you didn't engage in any any with respect to the mel's? >> i have not seen any wrongdoing with regard to the production of lois lerner's e-mails. >> i want to be very clear. you disagree with the prison when he says there's not a smidgen of corruption click. >> there are people who have been making judgments both sid
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sides. >> do you know what, i'm not one of those. i'm simply saying we will never know because you didn't keep the evidence. evidence was exfoliated and whether it's negligent or where there's intentional or whether it's recklessly stone -- we still unhappy evidence. >> you have the treasury e-mail so the basic premise that this was an argument in the conspiracy driven by the white house. >> sir you are wrong about that. you are repeating a talking point from our colleagues on the other side. it was jay carney who said it was too rogue agents from ohio. it was not any of us. was that accurate? with that initial line of defense too rogue agents in ohio is that correct commissioner? >> not that i know of. >> that is not accurate and it came from the white house. who says there is not a smidgen of corruption. >> my understanding is was the president.
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>> that's jay carney and the president inserting themselves into the irs scandal and you want to blame us for bringing the white house into its? >> i had a blame you at all. >> you just did commissioner. you just did. >> oppa said was their white house has revealed there were no lois lerner e-mails and the treasury has given you all the e-mails it to the extent the argument was that lois lerner was conspiring e-mailing back-and-forth bus far haven't seen it. >> you can be engaged in the conspiracy that doesn't involve the white house. >> your time is up. >> the gentleman from texas. >> thank you very much mr. commissioner. there is a lot of passion on this especially on my side of the aisle. i was at home this weekend weekend and that's all anybody was talking about. the american people don't believe for a second that this was lost accidentally. a friend of mine used to work at my computer consulting company and is still in business.
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he said there's no way this could happen. you have got to do something about it. that's the frustration that i'm getting from the american people. if we came back to you and said i don't have the resources to save all the records to comply with the irs tax law you all would not let me escape so i don't think you guys out to be able to escape on the resource issues. i will get back to that in second. in the clinton administration knew worked in the omb didn't you and part of your job was to oversee the executive branch recordkeeping and these federal records act type requirements? did you not do that? >> i was actually done by the office of information and regulatory affairs. >> were you involved in that when you were in the clinton administration? >> i was not involved personally but i was the director of. >> are you familiar with the federal records act? it says at the head of each
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federal agency shall preserve records maintaining proper recommendation of the organization functions policy decisions procedures and essential transactions of the agencies along those lines. your irs manual says the way he will do that is to print out the e-mails records. who decides what is an official record? >> the employees are provided background information and they made a judgment. >> if you are doing something that you might believe is questionable. >> we have trained resource coordinators across agency to continue to oversee and encourage and make sure they comply. >> and responses to earlier questions you indicated in going through lois lerner's e-mails you searched hers -- there were research terms. how do you use search terms on the hardcopy e-mails that you been required to print out from
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the lost hard drive? did somebody go through her files and files as she routinely corresponded with to search the hardcopy records? >> yes. >> wouldn't have been easier and save money if you would have had that electronic forum? >> no doubt. >> you heard from the other side that there's an issue with respect to the resources. i did this on my cell phone and let me find my notes here. you guys have got a lot of people that are good at math of the irs so i'm going to assume you guys can figure this out. your procedures to print a record out. i'm going to let you get a google search and say efforts size of a word document and they say well you can get 64,782 word documents of nine pages per gigabyte. a gigabyte is a thousand gigabytes so that's 64.8 million
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documents. i went on amazon and saw it you could buy a terabyte hard drive for 59 dollars. you can buy two of them so 120 bucks. the statistics in the industry average cost to print a page of a document is about five to 8 cents including paper and toner and wear and tear on the printer. if you do that math and multiply it out it looks to me like for every terabyte of storage you add to the e-mail you save $21 million in printing fees not to mention the greenest of it. how come some of the mathematicians at the irs didn't realize hey all right let's say you have to buy a computer and pick it up. let's take five grand on a backup system for e-mail and save $21 million. >> $90,000 you have one of those for each employee.
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>> each employee is not going to have millions of pages of e-mails and documents. you could do it on a systemwide basis. >> not on our system you can't. >> it's not stored on exchange server? you can't get a backup that you see advertised on tv that captures all the e-mail click. >> that's one of the things when they looked at it was 10 to $30 million to create a server that would hold all of that. >> $10 million, $21 million to print you've already saved. >> if we are printing $21 million of stuff probably. >> no question you are complying with the federal records act. this of resources thing doesn't fly. i have run out of time. i had other questions but i will yield back. >> i thank the gentleman. gentleman from kentucky is recognized. >> thank you mr. chairman. mr. chaffetz adds why the six-month backup was no play to
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lois lerner's e-mails. you suspected that it was too much effort. do you have any e-mails indicate there was a discussion about going to the backups to get hers? >> there are none that i know of. >> have you looked for any to see what the i.t. staff, you mention they made an effort to retrieve the hard drive but what about the software from a server's? >> as far as i understand her e-mail was in there from april on. she had that e-mail and we were focused primarily on the hard drive which she had archived or e-mails. >> that hard drive you are saying is gone and i accept that it's gone but what about you don't see any evidence of an e-mail trail with the i.t. department trying to go to the servers to get those e-mails? >> not bad on the server or e-mails from april forward. in terms of whether they went to the back -- i haven't seen
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anything about the backup tapes. >> her hard drive crashed in june of 2011 and we have to e-mails. i will go on to another question. was that hard drive replaced? >> yes. >> are you in possession of that hard drive? >> the inspector general has it. >> could we look at the hard drive to see if she was in the habit of deleting e-mails? >> you are welcome to ask the inspector general for it. >> wouldn't be possible because you are collecting e-mails from her associate so you know which e-mail she achieved. dues did occur to you to look on her e-mail to see if she purposefully deleted in a? >> we have a look at that but as i say we have produced all of the e-mails e-mails and what was possible to take a look at that. >> next question. he said there's a three to 5% chance of a hard drive will fail and you testified that last
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week. >> i advise it's an industry-standard? >> that's about a one in 30 chance if it were 3% but let's see chairman camp sent a letter to the irs demanding the irs explained allegations of targeting tea party groups and her hard drive failed within 10 days. do a little math here the probability of that failing in 10 days instead of the year is one in 1000. >> that's not the way probability works. >> a lot of bad things could've happened so maybe it was 100 or 110. >> at the same probability everyday. it's like when you flip a coin. >> you don't need to tell me about how probability works. i took a class. it's one of 1000 that would fail within 10 days. >> we must have taken a different probability class. >> i think so. can you tell me the other hard drives that they'll do were were
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associates were there any others that failed in that same time. matt? >> i don't know what the list looks like. >> if another one failed one of her associates within the same 10 days that means it's a one and 1 million probability that two hard drives fail than someone dealing with this case and attend a window if there's a 3% probability? >> we will provide you a full report including the names and hard drives when they failed and whether a mouse were lost as a result. >> notice i'm not questioning your integrity. i do those sort of question that judgment of a little bit of not sharing this bad information with us. he had suspicion in february and then in march that maybe all the e-mails not -- may not be retrievable. there's a saying that the bad news never gets better with age and never improves with age. what i want to ask you now is
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are there any other anomalies in the data or in the retrieval of e-mails that you can think of now so we can avoid having a second hearing on this? >> that's a fair question and a good question. i'm not aware of any. other than we are pursuing the other custodians. >> the other eight hard drives that i failed. >> we are still looking and i don't know if the final number will be. >> you understand my question. >> similar to the bad news he had in february. >> i said i do not know of any other bad news as you pointed out. >> one final question. if we had a flat tax or fair tax would we be here today? here today? >> i met big supporter of tax simplification and i support chairman camp's attempt to move that forward and i will be as helpful as i can. >> i.d. too and they give very much.
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>> we will now go to the gentleman from georgia. >> thank you mr. chairman. i appreciate that. i have three degrees ranging from a bachelor's degree to a theology degree to a law degree and this has been an amazing story to sit here in front a few weeks ago relative timeframe and i asked you you know without any definition you agreed to. when you just take a step back i have a 15-year-old that i love dearly. he is different than my other two children because my 15-year-old has an active imagination. his active imagination can lead you on some pretty amazing trips and let's just think about this for just a moment. you haven't agencies supposedly in cincinnati that decides on its own just to say we are going
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to start looking into certain files and by the way that we don't help washington and we don't let anybody else know although pretty well satisfied that was not in accordance to good policy. when the chairman of one of our committees makes an entry concerning this kind of information a hard drive fails. two weeks later all of a sudden then cincinnati decides to tell that we have an issue trade we move forward in this progression and we have seen the fifth taken. we have had evidence come here where we see all the evidence and all the facts and again it's hard to believe that it should have at least come up all that i have been oh by the way we have got a problem. it also seems hard to believe as you go through this whole story that when the inspector general was going through this whole
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thing no one seems to have told him of go by the way we are missing some e-mails. >> nobody that i knew it was dealing with inspector general new player for e-mails missing. >> i guess if i go back to my 15-year-old here at a certain point in time i have to just look at him and and i have to say cameron at a certain point in time the load you are caring in the back of the truck don't add up anymore nobody believes it. it's a bad position for you. i hate to be in your position. you have had an extensive life of great service to this country but what is really troubling and for the people in my district of georgia whether you figure probability or not they have a pretty good meter. the major of democrats i know in republicans i know have gotten full.
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this story is becoming more impossible as it goes. it crashes at a certain time. no one was told about it. i'm going to take you seriously that you take responsibility for your job at the irs. is that correct? >> yes. >> you are the man at the top as you said before. did you notify the archivist when you learned about the distraction of lois lerner's e-mails? ..
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and keep them. she had hard-copy records. i don't know whether anything that was lost was an official record or not. >> so it would be a matter of then gist caution or prudence that you should have told archives. >> i tell archives if there's a disruption. >> hard drive detried, is that not disruption or are we parsing terms again? >> archives or record purposes are -- >> that you know of. >> i don't know what she knows. that is what she was supposed to do whether she did it i don't know. >> what you know of, but in seasons where you have lost it or been destroyed no way to get it. no way to tell if you should or should not have told the
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archivist, correct? so you should have told the archivist. >> could i do that,is. >> this is a long story. the people are just looking for the truth, and there are a lot of parents and grandparents two -- thigh just don't understand. they don't get it because they don't -- they can come to a story with ther is and is the irs would basically say, we don't want the story, we don't care much we're broke we just wanter records. a sad trail down a wrong road. your service has been good but your running into a dead end and the american people are tired of it. i yield back. >> now to the general, mr. massey. >> we have had him already. >> thank you. my order here. an interesting conversation but we're done. >> you may say again, you never know. we now go to mr. meadows. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you for your patience.
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so, let me follow up on mr. collins' line of questioning. federal records act requires e-mails to be part of the record to be printed out. is that correct? >> if the e-mail is a record, it should be printed out in hard copy is the irs policy. >> what your definition of a record? >> the record is the act provides, any record of agency actions or policies. if you just sending e-mails conversing back and forth, those are not records. >> conversing back and forth with regards to what? that's not what your manual says. >> policies or anything that would reveal important agency policies. >> it says specifically, e-mails are records when they are created or received in the transaction of agency business. >> that's correct. so, if we're doing an exactly, having a litigation, all of the information about that exam and
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that information -- >> what you're saying none of lois lerner's e-mails are part of the agency business. >> she printed hard copy e-mails that have been provided to you. >> hard copy of how many e-mails. >> i have no idea. >> all of them? >> all of her e-mails were not official records. >> under what definition? i pulled the definition -- really, all i have to go by is the law. and that's what you would have to go by, and i pull the definition out of your policy book. >> i would assure you i have not read very many lois leadershipper e-mails but of the 67,000 you'll have, i guarantee you a reasonable number of them are not official records. >> under what definition. >> under the definition na that brochure. >> well, this definition says that they need to be machine readable materials. that qualifies to almost every single e-mail. machine-readable is what this said. >> in ems of -- >> i'd like to ask we put this in the record.
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>> without objection, so ordered. >> so, if i'm following your manual, and there has been no wrong-doing, i think is what your testimony says, there's been no wrongdoing -- isn't that what you said. >> ey. no wrongdoing in terms of potential lost e-mails. >> so, when someone did not notify the national archives, was that wrongdoing? when you lost these? when you automatically said, kelly, we can't find the e-mails, there might be just one e-mail in there that is a record, would that be a wrongdoing or breaking the law? >> if we didn't advise the archivist we lost -- >> you didn't. you didn't advise them. >> because we did not have any evidence whether they were official records or not. as stated by mr. collins, we could have called and said we lost e-mails and we don't know who there's records or not and
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we thought we would let you know. but we did not do that. >> can i mitt for the record a -- submit for the record a letter from the national archives expressing concern the fact there may be official record that were not -- >> without objection, so ordered. >> so, all of this, and not following up, is really, according to the democrats, really a money problem, and you've concurred with that. >> we would be in much better shape if we had an electronics record system -- >> the reason you don't is because of money. >> i'm told two years ago when they considered trying to do that, they didn't have the funds to do that. >> so can we'll the american taxpayers, then, if they just don't have the money to comply with irs statutes, that's okay? that it's okay to break the law as long as they don't have the money to comply? >> i don't think we have established the irs broke the law. >> well, there is wrongdoing in terms of not keeping all the records according to the federal
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records act. all of the record -- would you agree some of the records are missing. >> i have no idea whether official record are missing or not. >> your testimony today -- let me make sure -- that you do not know whether there are missing e-mails. >> you just asked about missing official records. i do know there are missing e-mails. >> would a normal person assume there may be one record in all of those e-mails that are missing. >> we don't know how many are -- >> a reasonable person. you're an attorney. a reasonable person. wouldn't a reasonable person think in thousands of e-mail there would be one official record. >> we don't know if thousands are missing or not -- >> i didn't ask you that. i said, a reasonable person-wouldn't they agree? are you a reasonable person? >> last time i checked. >> wouldn't you think there might be one record in there? >> let me finish out. you say it's a money issue. are you aware that
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$49 million were spent on conferences during this same time period, $49 million? >> that was in -- >> between 2002 and 2012, 49 million, according to the report. >> substantial number of those are training conferences -- >> i didn't ask you. were you aware that 49 million -- yes or no. >> i was not aware of the number. >> 49 million, some of that, $3,500 a night, "star trek" video. do you think you could have moved some of that 49 million to pay to make sure that the federal records were really preserved. >> you may answer. i don't know the details of those events and what were training and what were wasted funds, and it's all three and four years ago, long before i arrived. >> that wasn't the gentleman's question. the gentleman's question was do you think any of the, quote, money on those conferences, including the one for making the "star trek" video -- whether or
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not that could have been used properly for this purpose? >> we needed 10 to 30 million. there was 30 million or 10 million, i don't know. if there was money waist wasted they could certainly have used it for this purpose, that's clear. >> i thank the gentleman. we now go to the gentleman from michigan. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. nice to see you again, commissioner. before i forget i have two questions -- two lines of questioning. you said four to five people report to you regularly. who are the -- can we have their napes and tight. s. >> i actually have 30 people who report to me regularly. four or five who report to me in this area. >> okay. can we have their names and titles. >> i'd be happy to provide those. >> great. do you believe there's a difference between objectivity and neutrality? >> that's an interesting question. i suppose you could be objective -- i don't know. i think most of the -- both terms would imply you're not involved personally in an issue.
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you're objective about it or neutral. >> those synonyms. >> yes. >> objectivity is the ability to judge fair live despite bias, and neutrality is to have no stance regarding a particular issue. do you think that employees at the irs have any self-interest in who is elected as president of the united states? >> i think as individuals, every american has an interest in who is elected president of the united states. >> but you say they're trying to be nonpartisan, the irs? >> the irs is nonpartisan. doesn't mean they can't have an interest in understanding the importance of the presidential election. >> but they're not supposed to have the back one part of you or another, are they? >> the hatch act does not prohibit irs employees on their own -- >> in their official duty. >> in their official duty it's absolutely prohibited. >> so, my question is about self-interest. do you believe that employees at the irs can remain objective when analyzing the tax
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implications of groups of people that want them to lose their jobs? >> lose their jobs? i think so. i think that they're professionals, they're dedicated -- >> i have no doubt in their professionalism. i'm not asking you about that. i'm asking about their new centrality and how it affects their objectivity do you believe any person can sustain objectivity towards someone that they perceive as the threat to their livelihood? >> i think they could be objective about it. i'm objective about continuing to hear. this is my eighth hearing and i'm objective about it. i have good friends on all the commitee, even though some of these hearings are little more contentious. come with the territory. >> what are they afraid of? i mean, they -- e-mails, just provide all the information. it seems to me that if it was just-let's say, somebody got
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carried away you could have said we apologize, we'll never do it again, but the irs is not doing that. >> is a recall the commissioner werfel and i said if people were unfairly selected that's a mistake. i have apologized to anyone who has been discriminated against and i'm committed that won't happen again. >> but, we're concerned about where it comes from, because it wouldn't be this big of an issue if there was really just some loose cannon in the outfit, so to speak. steams to me that you could have said, they made a mistake, they shouldn't have done it. we punishedded the. let move on. they didn't do that. >> the people involved on the chain of command on this issue are all again. >> i think there's -- or retired? >> they're no longer with the agency. >> right.
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except the ones in 1600 pennsylvania avenue. thank you very much. i yield back. >> the gentlemen yield? >> yes. >> will the gentleman yield -- >> his already usedded. >> mr. koskinen. when you learned in april from who you can't remember, when you can't remember, sometime in april you said you did not communicate with the white house or with treasury. it that accurate? >> that's correct. >> here's a story from last week's politico. says april of this year -- from the white house counsel -- >> the's informed the white house counsel's office that it ped miss lerner's e-mail account contained very few e-mails. they were informed in april, the white house counsel, from the treasury's chief counsel, to how did the treasury chief counsel find out. >> i don't know. >> did you tell people in the irs don't tell anybody this stuff until we get all the information? did you give that instruction to your folks? >> no. >> so, someone at irs told treasury chief counsel?
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>> i assume that must be what happened. we meet with the treasury regularly -- >> why didn't you tell him? >> i have not reporting to the treasury about this investigation. it's under -- it's our responsibility and we're taking -- >> you don't know who told them. >> i have no idea. >> did you tell someone else to go tell treasury -- >> no. >> so you wouldn't have to. >> no. >> you no idea that the white house and treasury learned that learn e-mails were lost in april and we didn't know until june. >> i have not had any discussion. >> we would like to know who at irs told the treasury chief counsel, who told the white house chief counsel, and they knew two months before we did. so we want to know who the person tet irs did who informed them of something that is important and you didn't feel it was incumbent to tell us. do you who who that is. >> i don't know. >> you run the agency. why don't you send an e-mail to although blows whoever told
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counsel we lost lois lerner's e-mails, i want to know who that is so we can tell the chairman of the committee and we can question them. >> the gentleman's time has expired. >> you can question them. >> of course. you didn't want to tell them. >> i didn't want -- i told you, we run the investigation. i have not talked to -- in the production of documents, the treasury doesn't tell me what to do i don't tell treasury what we're doing. >> i'm not talking treasury, i'm talk tag irs. someone from irs told the white house. >> point of order. >> state your point of order. >> the point of order is the -- >> state your point of order. >> the point of order is the gentleman is over his time. >> the rae point of order is hi won't answer the question. >> the point of order the chairman cut me off when -- >> i'm cutting awe off again. we'll maintain decorum.
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the parliamentarian will allow anyone to make a point of order, to cite within the rules a point of order as to whether rules are being properly adhered to. congresswoman spear did a very good job of citing a point of order, and i would ask all folks to please use the parliamentarians before the cite a point of order. we now go to the gentleman from florida, mr. sanchez, for five minutes. >> commissioner, have reviewed dave kamp's letter he sent to the irs. >> i have not. i only saw it this afternoon briefly. >> this is -- so he writes a letter, lois lerner's hard drive crashes ten days later, you're in charge of ther is and is you haven't reviewed that letter? >> i scanned that letter. i'm not doing the investigation of what happened around -- >> that letter requested that e-mail records be preserved, and turned over to the committee, the ways and means committee,
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and according to your testimony, when her hard drive crashed they never went to the backup servers to retrieve her e-mails. >> they never went to the backup tapes. >> exactly. >> the backup server is different. there's no backup server. there's a serve that operates the e-mail. >> and the tapes they're stored on offsite, they never got the e-mails back. even though congress requestedded it, the irs didn't care and didn't go the extra mile to get thosement you testified last week that you knew there was a problem, february 2014 with lois lerner's e-mails. >> i was advised there was an issue. >> in mid-march, the irs, according to your testimony, learned additional facts about her mysterious computer crash. >> that's correct. >> then you testified at this committee at the end of march, and you promised this committee, dowdy, gordon issa, everyone, get us lois lerner e-mails, you said, yes, we'll do it.
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you never mention, you never disclose that there were real problems about whether you were in fact going to be able to turn over those e-mails. correct. >> at that time i did not know there were real problems -- >> meet what you told dave camp. in february -- this is page six of your testimony last week -- in february, what we knew was there was a problem because we were looking at it from the standpoint of where, what time frame her e-mails appeared and it appeared there were not enough e-mails in that time frame. so, in mid-february, you had reason to believe that you were short of e-mails, and that critical time frame, per your testimony last week. correct? >> when i say, we, the review team did that. i knew simply there was a problem in the way the e-mails were spread throughout the time frame. did not know the details of it. >> your testimony said, we, meaning the irs. >> the irs. >> now you're saying you did not know that so you were -- even though you're the commissioner you're not in the loop. here's the issue.
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>> good. >> going back and forth with you at the march hearing and you basically told him, we will get leadershipper's e-mails they're stored in servers -- what you said -- now, my question for you is, why say that if you knew, one there was a problem with lerner e-mails and, two, you knew the backup tapes were only saved for six months. why tell chafen you could retrieve it. >> at that time we had pulled all of the e-mails from her hard drive and put them in a server system known as clearwell; it's pool. it has -- >> i understand that. your testimony -- there was reason in mid-february there were not enough e-mails so whatever pool you head, the time period in question of the computer crash, you testified there was a possibility that this was coming up short. so the question is, you made a choice that you testified not
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disclose this back to congress. you have been asked, when did you know for sure there were e-mails. you said april. when in april, you said, april, and wouldn't get anymore definitive. and you were advised not to disclose it -- >> did not say i was not -- >> why didn't you disclose. >> we needed to find out the facts and the details and when we found those we would give you all the information. my experience, acomplained last month, we did provide information that we had just learned that day. our staff did. that we have custodians who had lost -- hard drive crashes -- >> i understand that -- >> -- immediately thereafter people leaped to conclusions in the press released that turned out to be wrong. >> i think you have a duty of candor to congress and the american people and you had some reason to believe there would be issues with producing her e-mails in your march testimony. you have admitted it with ways and means there were issues. now, either you -- maybe you weren't kept up or maybe you weren't following closely
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enough. i don't know. but i think this is very important because the average taxpayer looks at this and if they're in a situation where they can't produce documents, they are presumed guilty, period, end of story. it's not even a question. and yet the irs is in a situation where they can say, well, we had a computer crash, the probability of that is very small, as mr. massey indicated. just so happened to happened ten days after dave camp asked for information. and so i don't think that the american people are satisfied with this and with all due respect i don't think your testimony will be satisfactory to those who have real concerns about whether we're going to get to the bottom of what happened with the irs. i yield back. >> can i make just one point? >> it's the practice of the committee to always let a witness answer a question if there's a question penning. the gentleman may answer. >> i appreciate. this is just a statement i want the public to be confident about and that its when we're dealing with taxpayers and if they can't produce a record, we are open to their producing other evidence that would be consistent with
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that. so if somebody said we lost e-mails, we reconstructed 24,000 of them, we would take that into consideration and there's a legal precedent that says if your actions and the evidence generally produces support for what you say happened, even if you don't have the documents, that's acceptable. so the idea that if you have lost the document it means you have lost the case with the irs, that is incorrect. we actually will work with taxpayers, trying to make sure that they have supporting information of any kind. our notices out to corporations say, here's what we like in documents but if you haven't got them all, you have something close to that, give us other inflammation, we'll take that. i just want the record to be clear. >> we reside be happy to accept whatever alternatives you can produce to show what -- >> the gentleman's time is expired. commissioner, the good news is there aren't too many members left for the second round. so, this should be fairly brief. >> i liked it in the old days where you only had one round. >> how old is that. >> must be very old.
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>> well, we'll try to be fairly short. mr. cummings. >> let me say this. i really thank you. i thank you from the depths of my heart. for taking on this task. i cannot begin to tell you how pained i feel listening to all of this. you know, when you got up first and has given what you have given, and have been brought into difficult circumstances, and i don't know how old you are, but you know, at my age i began to stop and think about my own mortality. and think about my reputation.
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first of all, i want to thank you for being who you are. i want too thank you for giving a damn. and caring about our country. some of the statements made here today make it look like you just coming up here, trying to fool people. when under republican and democratic administrations, you have been highly regarded. i've said it before and i'll say it again, we're better than that. we're a better country than that and we're a better committee than that. you know, when i read -- reviewed the irs employees interviews, you know what they
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said? very interesting. they said something similar to what you said. they said, they were constantly asked about their party affiliation and that kind of thing. some of them were republican, some were democrats, one even described himself as a very conservative republican. but you know what they said? they said they left their party hat at the door. you know why? because they wanted to make sure when they went in there, and did their jobs, that they did it in a way that was fair to all americans. and so, yeah, there are issues, but sometimes i sit here and listen to all of this, and
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somebody asked me about this committee the other day. they said if you were to leave the committee today, what would you most regret? i said i would mourn for what could have been. i would mourn for what could have been. we are a committee of oversight and government reform. and i'm glad that the irs took the nonrecommendations of the ig, who, by the way, was appointed by republicans -- the same ig that said, no white house involvement. but we just push the facts over there and let's get to -- he's coming up here, let's see what we can do to him. but you know what? after the hearing is over, i
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care about your reputation. i care about what people think of you and i really mean that. i don't want a moment to go by without you knowing that i appreciate you coming into this institution, giving it the best you got, and then having to come in here and go through this hell. and next i would say everything was done perfectly. i don't think anybody up here is perfect. all of us have had problems. as i say to my constituents, all of us are the walking wounded and if we aren't the walking wounded we just keep on living. and so, i want to thank you very much, and by the way, if there was any kind of inappropriate criteria, i have said it before, i have a problem with that, with
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regard to conservatives. i also have a problem with regard to progressives and anybody else. and i'm sure i speak for all our members when i say -- i really do thank you. with that yield back. >> thank the gentleman. the gentleman from ohio is next in seniority. >> i thank the chairman. look, i agree with the ranking member. we're all imperfect. we all are in need of god's grace, and we do appreciate the public servants who work hard every day on behalf of the american people. but i will tell you something. i also care about the thousands of people who were denied their first amendment rights when this targeting scheme took place. i care about people like katherine ingle brat arebrat who was visited six times by the fbi after she applied for tax exempt status, had her personal and business finances audited by ther is are for previous two
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years, got visited by osha and we're concerned about getting to the truth. mr. koskinen you testified several times tonight, you knew there were problems in march, came in front of this committee, didn't disclose to us, then someone -- the reason you said you didn't disclose is because this was so important, so critical, that you get all the information, get all the facts, all the information, and then give it to us. correct? you wanted to get the full story before you went public with this. >> i remind you when i testified here in march i had no idea whether there was a serious problem or not. i knew there was an issue jew you now there had been a crash of her computer. it's in your testimony. but your testimony is you wanted to get all the facts before you went public. right. >> yes. >> you thought that was important. >> yes. >> gift all the information. >> yet. >> and yet, one of your believe employees told the treasury and
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the white house in early april -- >> i'm -- >> whoa, whoa. if it was so important, so critical to get the full picture before this information got out, why didn't you tell all the people who work in your agency, we're not going to say anything, we're not going to communicate about this, until we get the full picture. why didn't you give that instruction to -- if it's so critical you can't share with congress, you waited two months after you knew in april there were lost e-mails, if it's that important, why didn't you tell your employees, don't talk about this, don't tell the white house counsel, don't tell the treasury counsel. why didn't you give that instruction? >> because i didn't think that if somebody actually told anyone -- i didn't tell them they shouldn't tell this committee. i set forward a program in which i said we need to find all of the facts, pull it together and make a public disclosure, which
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is what we did. >> that's not what happened, mr. koskinen. the chief counsel of treesry knew about it and talked to the chief counsel at the white house in april, right after you found out about it. that's what we're concerned about. all i'm saying is if it's so important i think pro-active leader, good manager, would say, hey, let's get to the truth first, get all this. let's not communicate this. let's tell everyone at the same time. let's tell congress -- if it's okay to tell the white house, whew isn't it okay to tell the people's house? >> the white house is not going to do what -- the ways and means committee did with the information with gave them piecemeal, they're not going to make a big issue until the facts are out. >> maybe because the white house is the same party? right? could that have anything to do with it. >> i have no idea but i stress again -- >> the facts are the facts. >> the facts -- >> treasury knew, white house knew in april, we didn't know until late june. >> no one at the irs talked to the white house.
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>> how did they find out? >> pardon. >> how did they find out? >> i'm told by the people who read the white house letter, the white house found out from treasury. nobody from the irs talked to the white house. >> someone from the irs talked to treasury, then. >> that's what i understand. >> as i said before, we'd like to know who that person is. i hope you'll find out. can you make a commitment you will find out who those individuals were work who talked to the treasury, chief counsel, who then talked to the white house two months before the people's house got the same information? can you make that commitment? >> i'll do my best. >> well. i yield back. >> will the gentleman yield? >> i yield. >> i appreciate you finding out. it would save us the trouble of going to through all the people you. said, and i'm paraphrasing, maybe the white house wouldn't release it the way ways and means released a document. is that right? >> yes. in other words, my experience has been, in this issue, that any information that comes out
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piecemeal immediately gets an overreaction to it. >> so -- well, your overreaction is your statement. the i if have is, hasn't the white house selectively leaked documents in the past. >> i'm not involved in those issues. >> probably read "the wall street journal" and "new york times" or the "washington post." isn't it true the white house does put out piecemeal documents that favor them when they get them, and hold back ones when they don't? >> i'm not familiar with what the white house activities are. >> i guess i'll wait for my own time but i must admit i'm a little insulted to hear the white house is trustworthy and congress isn't in your opinion. the gentleman from nevada is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. it's kind of interesting how positions change over time because looking back on some of the records, it appears that when the bush white house lost
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millions of e-mails related to the leak of covert cia agent valerie plame's identity, and the u.s. attorney firing this same committee held a hearing in 2008. at that hearing chairman issa said this, and i quote: i think it is fair that we recognize that software moves on and that our cifing in -- archiving in the digitat aim is not as easy at as it may seem to the congress. at the same hearing chairman issa talked about how congress needs to provide more funding to agencies can improve their archiving and says the house of representatives needs to make sure you are funded and that is part of what we do in oversight. funded to deal with ever-evolving technologies where archiving isn't just putting them away, it is being able to retrieve it.
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now it appears that chairman issa's perspective has changed. with respect to the loss of miss lerner's e-mails he believes the loss of her e-mail is evidence of, quote, nefarious conduct. chairman issa has repeatedly stated this assertion, but yet said something completely different in a previous hearing. commissioner, as far as you can tell, the only difference between the statements chairman issa made in 2008 and the statements he made now, is that there was a republican administration then, and that there's a democratic administration now. the fact is that the irs and many other federal agencies have struggled to improve their electronic record retention for years. gao, the national archivists, and others, have been reporting
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on these problems repeatedly. so, i have a main question that i'd like to ask, commissioner, and that's, what can you do to explain to this committee the steps that are being taken to restore the public's trust in the irs and the functions that it provides to the american people in this regard to the data and the protection of that data. >> we are reviewing all of our activities. i've asked for this sometime ago to see if at a minimum we couldn't create an electronic record system that would be more searchable, we have spent close to $18 million and $20 million trying to produce documents as quickly as we can and e-mails as quickly as we can because of the archaic system that requires to us go to 90,000 individual hard drives or in this case 83 custodian individual hard drives.
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we're going to continue to do that. the archivists last year made a recommendation that as a way to begin to do this we take the top 35, called the capstone proposal. i'm sure you'll testify tomorrow about it. that is a start, recognizing the costs that we delve systems with the top 35 people in the agency, where they're records are automatically electronically put into a records system as the first step, and we're going to take a look at that, which would obviously be less expensive than trying to archive the entire agency's records. but i do think it's important for us to preserve official records, it's important for history, it's important for people to understand the basis on which we make decisions, and we're going to continue to do that. we are constrained. the issue is, how we spend our money is an important issue, but it is in a situation where we have substantially fewer funds than we had four years ago, 10,000 fewer employees, and substantially increased responsibilities, but it is an important issue for us to
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consider and we're going to do that. >> thank you, commissioner. again, i want to commend you. i say often on this committee, we are the oversight committee and also the government reform committee. and i would like to hear your recommendations as we move forward on how we put those recommendations in place, and what this committee can do to support you in those endeavors. it's one thing to have as many hearings as we have had without any substantiated evidence to suggest continuing, but to not have one hearing on how we can implement any of the recommendations to improve the system, i think is a flaw in the way this committee is managed, and, mr. chairman, i know my time is up but under rule nine, sub a., i think that the chairman needs to ensure that there is equal time given to each side and that members
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should not have their mics cut off and then members in the majority allowed to speak well over their permitted time. >> we now go to mr. massey for five minutes, or such time, subless he may consume. >> thank you. >> not required to use the full five minutes. >> is not required but seldom yielded back. >> really depends on the answers. i'm going to try and be short, and i really appreciate your patience and your stamina here tonight. so i'll be short with this question. on june 3, 2011, ways and means chairman dave camp, sent the irs a letter demanding to explain the allegations of targeting tea party and other conservative groups. he also requested that the e-mails be provided or preserved. within ten days lois lerner's hard drive crashed. we know her hard drive crashed because we know this for sure because it was a ticket filed with the i.t. department.
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is that correct? for a repair? >> that's correct. >> could you provide us with all of the tickets filed in the month of june, 2011, at the irs for failed hard drives? >> yes. >> thank you very much. i yield back. >> would the gentleman yield? >> yes. >> i thank the gentleman. we are nearing the end but there will be -- i'll need a few more minutes to so i want to be brief but i want to be thorough. miss lerner you didn't know, you say you never met her. my understanding from the reports the hard drive that failed was on her laptop. is that correct? >> i'm not familiar. i know nicole flax's travel computer is where the hard drive failed north her office computer. i'm assuming in light of where the archives went it was her office computer where the hard drive failed. >> i want to understand from to a procedural standpoint, employees of the irs download e-mails which may include 6103
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information, to their laptops and leave the building with them. that's correct. >> a number of employees, their office commuter is in fact a laptop. >> and as a result, when they leave the office, they take with them e-mails that may include 61 other 3 information. -- 6103 information. >> that's possible, yes. >> to your knowledge are laptops, in the irs, universally limited so they may not employ usb drives? >> they are now. there was -- as i understand the situation some years ago, in which they were -- well, guess what i should say is years ago usb drives, thumb drives, were usable that were not encrepted and there was an issue that came to my attention where fortunately no information was misused by the public. since that time, which is several years ago, all thumb drives are encrypted, so that if a thumb drive is lost, nobody can access the data.
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>> i appreciate that, congress has implemented a similar thing. but we also can go by a best buy normal thumb drive. so if lois lerner's laptop was in tact -- or other laptops or office computers -- had the usb on any of them that downloaded information, including 6103 information to their local drives could have in fact moved them to usb based external drives or thumb drives of their own purchase. , that? >> that sounds right. i don't know what the equipment looked like three years ago but i assume that sounds right. >> so, for the american people, it is very possible, and in fact probable, that every day, individuals leave the irs with personally final information covered under 6103 on their hard drives, inside laptops that they take home, on trips to conferences and the like.
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>> that's correct, to the extend of my knowledge. i may be creeked when i get back -- may be corrected when i get back. >> that means in fact, lois lerner, an attorney, may have made a copy of information on her hard drive that died and she could have it on a usb product or any kind of product, but normally a ubs based thumb drive or external hard drive you have no reason to know she couldn't have done that. >> that's correct. >> so, in fact, lois lerner may have made copies of this before the failure of her computer to your knowledge, when the department of justice questioned lois lerner was she asked any of those questions. >> i have no idea. >> to your knowledge, did she have a ubs or any other product that could have taken copies off of her computer? >> i have no knowledge she did. >> to your knowledge, did she also have a laptop or dual purpose computer she took home with her or left the building
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with. >> i don't know. >> okay. i would now ask unanimous -- let me rephrase that. one more. you have 90,000 computers that basically use their local hard drives to store information, e-mails, instead of on the server, because after so many days it disappears off of -- after half a year they disappear off the server. is that right. >> no. no. the server will keep your e-mails until you get to 6,000 and then you get a notice saying you have to either archive them or delete them. the backup tapes that preserve information for six months are separate. the server, you may have e-mails on your server for five years if you don't -- >> if you don't let the number. >> don't hit the 6,000. >> obviously lois lerner with tens of thousands did. i now recognize myself for my own time.
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continuing on, i spend a lot time in the electronics industry so i have a bit of a passion for this. are you aware that if you back up your systems every six months, that the cost that we would be looking at for what it would have cost to have backed them up, essentially once a month, would be cost of the tape drive that in fact those tapes or cartridges that would be retained and my understanding is that wouldn't be 10 million...
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>> i served on this committee and this room in that position. when henry waxman because the bush white house conversion from lotus notes to windows exchange server microsoft exchange server failed to have good backups and they used their image backups at a cost of a great deal of money to restore countless e-mails so that the presidential records act, the federal records act would be fully maintained. do you have any recollection of those those those hearings about activity? >> i do not. >> to this committee's briefings
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mr. waxman did not care that cost an estimated $24 million to recover every single one of those e-mails. this committee aggressively said they had to do it and they did image backing restorations. had you done image backups and retain them prior to your arrival but had the irs done it would have cost probably tens of thousands of dollars to maintain six or seven years worth of those and we wouldn't be having this same discussion today would we? >> it costs a lot of money to get the e-mails off of those recovery tapes that that's right. if we had family could then spend the millions of dollars it would take to pull it off the disaster recovery tapes that is not what the disaster cover recovery tapes are meant to do. >> what is interesting is the disaster recovery tapes, the reason they cost so much to the white house is they wanted every e-mail retained a recovery. we only wanted lowest learners. i would like to enter into the record now a document given must
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do by the national archives and i will show it because it's a little hard to see but there we go. it's a little hard to read from here. >> i will read you just a piece of it. andrew jackson of the state of tennessee, the first day of december 1799 is still complaining through congress and this is from essentially a congressional record where he petitions united states congress in 1803 to recover and it started in 1801 with an affidavit for his loss of revenues paid in 1799 because the stills burned after they collected a revenue in advance for his hundreds of gallons of liquor.
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i only put that in the record for one reason. the national archives and archivists will be with us tomorrow, and maintains an amazing amount of documents and recovers documents. now andy jackson, general jackson's still may not be anything but humorous this late at night but it's part of a wealth of information that the american people have access to just across the street. your agency came here and said on a $1.8 billion budget you do this tonight and that in fact he needed more money if you were going to maintain records. i would certainly hope that we would go back and scrub that $10 million in order to do x and in order to do y that you go back and you really ask within the best practices whether or not for your cio to meet the
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requirement of the national archives having access to the kind of information, the wealth of information they need, working with the national archives you could do it for a reasonable price. mr. worse for it was correct, i've been a big believer that in fact maintaining for the american people the transparency not just what's mr. cummings and i are doing here tonight but for the next generation and generations beyond as much information as we possibly can as an obligation. earlier mr. desjarlais -- desjarlais essentially doing arithmetic looked at that printout and later turned over to the national archives paper. i strongly suggest that this committee and hugh, you for your agency in this committee for all of the government really take a look at how much less expensive it is to maintain it digitally too delivered digitally so that
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it can be machine searchable for the next generation and in fact be of benefit to all of us. lastly i'm going to guess that out of the $111 per employee's computer because that's what $10 million is, you could easily have covered that expense, that 10 million-dollar expense by simply downgrading those local drives because in fact there's very little reason for them to have large local drives. lastly and i'm going to close with this. you are familiar with the interrogatories we sent some 50 questions. >> saturday afternoon. >> 48 hours before the hearing. you are aware for the most part there was no response other than a short oral briefing this afternoon in which presentations
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were made that were not part of the interrogatories. >> it's a little hard to get everybody together on sunday even though it is counted as the 48 hours. >> we got your request at 4:30. >> understand that but there were eight hours. the question we have for the most part in the questions we should have asked them they should have been answerable immediately there will be some additional questions that i will send interrogatories to you. they will ask you in the agency if he can figure out whether was the first of april that you learned about the real loss of documents for seven days after you testified or 30 days after two narrow down april and to narrow down who told you about it. there obviously is the question of how the white house came to know why congress was never informed about these losses of documents until your seven page
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letter. for that purpose we will now recess. if unable to get the interrogatories interrogatories in the follow-up calls done in a timely fashion and will be pleased to adjourn this but for now we are recessing subject to recall. we stand in recess. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014]
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>> we have produced e-mails whether they were positive or negative. i understand that people are concerned about that. the other issue in that timeframe be the 20,000 e-mails is with whom was she communicating outside the irs? all those 11 on, a e-mails from outside communication about this would be in her box. treasury has provided those e-mails so we are running out of laces where she might have communicated that we don't have evidence. can andoing the best we i think there is substantial theence at this point that hard drive crash was one of the thousands we experience every year. >> what about the federal records act? i believe you said you have no idea whether official records are missing or not. can you elaborate more on that?
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>> we don't know what the e-mails that are missing are so it's hard to know whether any of them were official records. er complieds. lern with agency policy in some instances because she printed some out as hard record copies which have been provided to the committee. i don't know how many e-mails were missing and i don't know what they contained what they were about3 reviewing the records issues. we are reviewing the recommendation from the archivists. will look the agency at providing backups and saving e-mails electronically for the senior people in the irs. they recommend something like the top 35 people which would be the division heads and would have included most of the people involved in this environment. we will take our look at that bigot that would be less expensive and would provide more searchable e-mails. >> how does this challenge compare with y2k and freddie
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mac. >> if you look at my career, i have done everything covering the largest bankruptcies. mb, i was the city administrator and responsible for the city during 9/11, the son -- the sniper, the anthrax. in september, 2008, by the spring, 2008, i suddenly became the ceo and cfo when the ceo left and the cfo was unfortunately lost. i have been through a lot. i must admit this is the only time i have had anybody argue that we are not doing things exactly the right way. doing things exactly the right way. -- it comes with the territory. not my style to play games with the congress. we will produce documents as quickly as we can and have excepted the ig recommendations.
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we will do everything we can to assure the public that discriminatory actions are not going to take place in this agency to the extent we can prevent it. one of the reasons i have encouraged a culture where every frontline amply feels comfortable of our raising issues of concern as well as suggestions is that it's important for information to flow to the top and i need to know and people at the top of the organization need to know if there is an issue or problem. i hope that people understand that no system self executes. we have all sorts of checks and controls and have had them in the past. what helps executors of everybody understands that they're all risk managers in each individual needs to feel comfortable. as i tell them bad news is good news, we don't shoot messengers, we thank them and we will discover problems as quickly as we can and fix them as quickly as we can. some you think there was
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random standing here on the republican side? -- was do you think there was some grandstanding here on the republican side? >> there is no element of people playing to the crowd. you would have to ask the members of both sides at both hearings and you would have to make your own judgments as to whether they are pursuing factual inquiries or playing to the crowd and playing to the media. that's a judgment they make. i am perfectly happy to testify at any hearing anybody wants to run and provide the facts and information as i know them. >> during one exchange at the hearing, you asked about attacking the credibility of the witnesses. you thought some of that was unfair. >> between friday night and tonight, i have been involved in a lot of high profile and challenging circumstance cases. i have taken on a lot of turnaround in many areas and nobody has ever in those
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situations suggested that we are not doing everything exactly a way we ought to and we are trying to be as responsive as we can. the implication that we are doing it some other way -- i did not come out of retirement to take on the challenge to play games. i came out of retirement to restore the credibility of the irs, support the employees -- we have 90,000 great employees dedicated to the mission of the agency and i am delighted and honored to have the opportunity to work with them. >> was there any unfair questions tonight? >> i don't think we have done anything that has merited some of the comments made friday night or tonight at and understand it's a free country and people can make comments as they see fit. >> are you not angered by those questions? >> it comes with the territory. there was a suggestion on friday iat 6-12 months from now, made a poor choice taking this
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job and i would not be here. have 3.5 years to go on my term and i will be here for the full 3.5 years. you can say whatever it what you'd like in hearing about me but i'm not going away. thanks very much. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] >> for over 35 years, c-span
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tonight on c-span two until the results come in. on c-span3, the house homeland security committee will investigate the influx of immigrant children. live coverage is at 10:00 eastern and you can join the conversation on facebook and twitter. coming up this hour, we will look at options in iraq. kenneth vogel of "politico" looks at the creation of new democrat and republican super pac's. we will look at today's headlines and take your calls. ♪ good morning.
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the house and senate are both in today. yesterday, president obama headlined the first white house summit for working families. he said outdated policies are to blame for parents spending too little time with their children and being unable to afford childcare. workomoted higher wages, lace flexibility, and paid family leave. we are asking our viewers to weigh in on ro
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