tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN June 26, 2015 9:00am-11:01am EDT
12 days later, there is a preservation notice sent to people in the irs. wasn't followed. we found out. so 12 days later, may the 22nd, 2013, notice that says, don't destroy any evidence, right? we want all the e-mails. we want all the documents preserved. is that right, mr. camus? >> yes, sir. >> okay. august 2nd, 2013, there is a subpoena for the same documents they are supposed to preserve, there is a subpoena to give them to congress, right, mr. camus? >> yes, sir. >> february 2nd, 2014, the irs learns, not just anybody at the irs, the chief legal counsel learns there is a problem with lois lerner's hard drive and e-mails are missing.
right, mr. camus? >> that's correct. >> one month later, despite the subpoena, one month after the chief counsel knows we're missing some e-mails, 422 tapes containing those e-mails are destroyed. right, mr. camus? >> that's right. >> and three weeks after that, march 26th, 2014, the head of the irs, commissioner sits right where you are, mr. camus, and tells this committee, we're going to get you every single e-mail lois lerner has sent. is that right? >> yes, sir. >> they destroy it. three weeks later, the guy in charge tells us, we're going to get you everything, and they've already been destroyed. so here's the question. how in the world could that happen? this is the biggest story in the stinking country at that time. how in the world, with the preservation order and a
subpoena, do they destroy 422 tapes containing, according to your investigation, potentially 24,000 e-mails? how does that happen, mr. camus? >> it's an unbelievable set of circumstances that would allow that to happen. it is going to be fully documented in our report, and i'm not sure i can describe it to you in five minutes. >> the reason you can't describe it is because there is no explanation for that, other than they were trying to not help the american people get to the truth. they were trying to hide something. they were trying to hinder. i don't know any other explanation. unless it's the most -- i mean, it's unbelievable. when you have a subpoena, preservation order and you destroy 24,000 e-mails. who is responsible ultimately? might it be the guy, mr. camus, who sat where you're sitting, the commissioner of the irs, and assured this committee, and more importantly assured the american people, they'd get us all the evidence? might he be the guy responsible? >> it's possible.
the management team -- >> might it be the head of the irs who didn't look at the sources for potential lois lerner e-mails? is that correct, they didn't look at the sources? >> they did not. >> might it be this guy who said under oath in this committee, we will get you every single lois lerner committee? might it be that guy? >> the management team is certainly a place to look. >> doesn't the buck stop at the top? >> that could be said. >> i think it should. what's next, mr. camus? >> we're going to generate our report of investigation that will clearly delineate step by step how this occurred, where the breakdowns were, and it will provide the evidence that i've been describing in both our written and oral testimony here today. >> you believe that -- do you believe there is criminal activity here, mr. camus? because it looks like it to the american people in our judgment. >> our investigation did not uncover any at this time. >> do you believe you might
uncover that? >> there are always times at the conclusion of an investigation, especially when an investigation gets a public forum, that someone comes forward with new information. but after a very thorough investigation, we have not uncovered any information. >> it might have helped if we had 24,000 e-mails to look at, might it? >> that would have been useful to have that material. >> i'd think so, too. with that, i yield back. >> thank you. >> thank you. now recognize the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. cartwright for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. george, i want to ask you about your ever-changing estimates of the new e-mails that you recovered from mrs. lerner. your numbers started at 80,000 e-mails in february. then it dropped to 32,000 e-mails at the end of february. then last week, it fell to 6,400. nine days later, now, it has sunk to about 1,000. your new number today is 98% lower than the first number you
gave us. you know, there's -- this is a nk.][ room where we like to hear the truth. there was a great justice of the supreme court of the united states, oliver wendell holmes, and he talked about the truth. he said, the truth is tough. it's not like a bubble that you can prick and it'll explode. it's more like a rugged football that you can kick around all day, and it doesn't lose its shape and doesn't lose its form and it stays the same. the truth doesn't change. when you're talking about a story that's true, mr. george, it's the same the first time you tell it, the second time you tell it, the third time you tell it and the fourth time you tell it. the truth doesn't go 80,000 and then 32,000 and then 6,400 and now 1,000. in fact, in the last nine days, you dropped from 6,400
discovered e-mails to 1,000. and i'm looking at the letter dated june 16 from your office. this is not from you. it's from gladys hernandez, your chief counsel. is she your chief counsel, mr. george? >> yes, she is. hello. gladys. thanks for the letter. mr. chairman, i ask for consent to enter this letter into the record. >> without objection, it's so ordered. >> i was reading the letter, mr. george, from attorney hernandez, that says 6,400. and there's no caveat. there's nothing in there that says, oh, this could be fewer. you know, could be fewer than 6,400. there's no proviso in there. it doesn't say, there could be duplicates in here. stand by for the next number. could be coming next week.
we didn't hear that from you either. now, this is not new to you, mr. george. you were a republican staffer for this committee. you understand that headlines are generated out of this committee. you understand how irresponsible it can be to throw out numbers with little or no basis because you know they'll work their way into headlines. and folks who like to make insinuations, like the previous questioner, will throw that into headlines intentionally. there was also a question about the prior chairman pressuring your office, pressuring your office to come up with quick, fast turn around information. well, news flash, the previous chairman is the previous chairman. he is no longer here. you are no longer under that kind of republican pressure to turn over headline information to this committee. and it certainly doesn't say
anything about that in gladys hernandez's june 16th letter. the question is why, mr. george, would you send out letters and put out numbers that you hadn't fully checked, knowing full well, as you do, that these numbers will work their way into these fabulous headlines that we see every day? the breathless reporting of all of these huge numbers of e-mails that have been discovered. why, mr. george? why do you do that? >> first of all, i would like to point out that when i had the honor of serving as a staffer here, it was with the late congressman horn from california who admonished us. we never leaked information during the course of an investigation prior to a hearing. i made a request of staffers during the course of this during the course of this investigation to act likewise. they did not do so. i cannot control their behavior. secondly, this was a response to
a request we received. this was a transmitted letter, and i haven't seen it. it was from our counsel to the committee. i would request the opportunity to review this and to respond precisely. but thirdly -- >> you've heard of oliver holmes, haven't you? >> i went to harvard law school, yes. >> you agree with the truth, don't you? >> yes. >> when you keep changing your story the way your office has, you lose your credibility and people stop believing that you're telling the truth. >> congressman -- >> i yield back, mr. chairman. >> recognize the gentleman from michigan, mr. wahlberg, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thanks to the panelists for the work you've done. it's been intimidating, it's been held up, frustrated all across the many, many months we've been dealing with it. i would also start with a quote from a famous chief justice of
the supreme court, as well as one of the most famous trial lawyers and former members of congress, daniel webster and justice marshall, who both said, the power to tax is the power to destroy. i'm not sure they were talking about degaussing, but they were certainly talking about the power of a taxing entity to impact the lives of people. that's something we've had here. i also want to remind our whole committee again, as we talk about numbers and we talk about degaussing and we talk about tapes and we talk about hard drives, remember the fact of the matter is that lois lerner sat at that very table and pled the fifth. what does the fifth amendment refer to? the right to not self-incriminate. that says to me, lois lerner was worried about the fact that what she had done could be construed as illegal at the very least. and she chose not to share the truth with us. she didn't kick the football. she walked off the field.
so we're left with trying to deal with tapes that have been degaussed -- sorry. i understand it. my people understand it. they've been destroyed. when congress began its investigation in may 2013, the irs issued a preservation notice to ensure the documents relevant to the investigation were not destroyed. is that not correct? >> that is our understanding. >> we want to rehearse this again. to cut through the clutter to get back to what the situation is. who sent out this preservation notice? >> that was the chief technology officer. >> so based on your investigation, what efforts did the irs or anyone else make to ensure that the ctos e-mail notice to cease routine destruction of electronic records was actually followed by low-level employees? >> very -- there was very much
confusion, and i'm not certain there was appropriate management oversight of the directive. >> who was responsible for the preservation of the e-mails? >> every irs manager, in my view. >> every irs manager? >> yes. >> every irs. plenty of them could have followed this out. has anyone been reprimanded for e-mails being destroyed, despite the preservation notice? >> in as much as we're finishing our investigation, we have not provided the irs with the results of what we found during our very thorough investigation of the matter. >> they know the law relative to the preservation notice. they should know it. >> i believe they do, and they'll get our full report. >> we don't know of reprimand they've taken. if these instructions would have been followed, would more lerner e-mails be available for the investigation? >> i believe there would be. >> that's a fact of the matter. how many potential sources for
recovering ms. learners e-mails existed for the irs? >> we believe, six. >> namely? >> the hard drive would have been a source. blackberry, source. backup tapes, a source. server drives, a source. the backup tapes for the server drives. and then finally, the loaner laptops. >> how many of these six did the irs search? >> we're not aware that they searched any one in particular. they did -- it appears they did look into initially whether or not the hard drive had been destroyed. but they didn't go much further than that. >> they found out it had been destroyed. but the other six, we don't know that they even attempted a search on it. did the irs personnel ever state a reason why they did not attempt these alternative methods of retrieving lerner's missing e-mails. >> they believed at a high level that attempting to get e-mails off the backup tapes was a futile attempt. but they did not determine that the very backup tapes that would have con taund the e-mails still existed and they would have yielded the very e-mails
everybody has been interested in. >> they wouldn't do this with a common citizen taxpayer, would they? i'm not asking you to answer that one. i'm suggesting that they would not have followed their pattern of course with lois lerner's tapes and e-mail records with any of us in the room. given the irs's failure to attempt the methods they used to recover the e-mails, would you characterize the irs's efforts as extraordinary? >> i would not. >> the power to tax is the power to destroy. i yield back. >> thank the gentleman. recognize the gentleman from virginia, mr. connelly for five minutes. >> i would remind my friend another quote from a distinguish ed holmes, tax is a price we pay for civilization. taxes aren't always bad things. >> would my friend yield back? >> real briefly.
>> real briefly. i agree with you. we're not talking about that. we're talking about destroying people's lives. >> well, i don't know that any lives have been destroyed. we can assert it, but it doesn't make it true. but thank you. mr. camus, we submitted questions to you on march 4th after the last hearing. the committee informed you and mr. george those answers were due march 18th. we were -- i find it interesting that we're complaining about responsiveness. let's start with the ig's office. because if you're not pure, you have no credibility or business testifying about somebody at irs. you need to be punctual. your questions, mr. camus, we
were informed were ready for delivery on march 27th. nine days late, but ready, is that correct? >> i diligently worked on the questions and submitted them for review. >> why was there a three-month delay between the completion of your answers to those questions and delivery to the committee two days ago? >> i don't know. >> would you call that responsive? >> i don't know the circumstance for the non-delivery. >> i do. i can give you -- >> i'll get to you in a second, mr. george. i promise. don't worry. i won't leave you out. okay. i just found it interesting because i would think that would be a declarative answer one way or the other, responsive or not. i'll ask you this. in any way, shape or form, were your answers with that delay changed or suggestions made to be changed in order to conform to somebody else's answers? >> no, sir. >> so to your knowledge, they remain unchanged but just
delayed? >> that's correct. >> mr. george, why did you delay this process? because we only got your answers two days ago, and i just heard you assure the chairman and this committee your commitment to making sure congress had everything it wanted, except from you. why did we have to wait three months for your answer, and why did you delay mr. camus' answers? >> well, because the request came to both of us in a single document, so we wanted to respond in a single document, one. two, as -- >> excuse me. even if it delayed, by three months? >> i have to beg your indulgence and i've expressed this with chairman chaffetz. my mother had a severe stroke and is in an intensive care unit for now two and a half months nearing death. yes, i've had to put aside some of my professional responsibilities while attending to her, my elderly mother, who is states away. i have that primary responsible, sir. >> i'm very sympathetic.
i have elderly parents, too, who suffer health issues. >> that is the explanation. my apology to the committee for the delay. >> could that not have been communicated to the committee? we had nothing but silence. >> there are certain parts of my life i don't want communicated. >> you could have said because of personal concerns i can't do my job for three months. with respect to responding -- >> but there were reviews to make sure that privacy act and 6301 issues were addressed. the primary one was my personal family situation. >> again, i'm always sympathetic to someone's personal circumstances. >> i appreciate that, sir. thank you. >> but there is a concern, frankly, as you know, and mr. cartwright and i filed a complaint about you, with respect to your behavior throughout this entire thing. and the latest delineation of
e-mail numbers that mr. cummings provided is very troubling in terms of credibility. you met with members of the staff without democrats present. you talked to the chairman and took direction without consulting with the democrats, even though standards of conduct for igs specifically say you should avoid that. you should always have not only the appearance but the reality of non-partisanship, so your credibility is adhered to. from our point of view, there are real questions about whether you actually lived up to that standard. and you've indicated that your own answer to the investigation exonerated you, but you've refused to provide that answer to the committee. another evasion. we're having a hearing, ironically, about whether irs was transparent, whether there
was any attempt to prevent the release of relevant material requested by the committee while you yourself have been guilty of the same thing. you have not been transparent. you've refused to provide information. you've been unresponsive, for whatever reason. and you held up mr. camus' answers in the process, which at least could have partially satisfied the committee demand. i renew my request to you. you claim that it's a violation of the privacy, your rights under the privacy act. if, indeed, your answer exonerated you, why would you want to keep it secret? why wouldn't you share it? >> the gentleman's time has expired. i want the gentleman to know that mr. george had informed the committee, had informed me, that he was dealing with a personal situation. it's hard to communicate that with everyone in mass, but i was aware of that. >> i want the gentleman to know,
too, that he did inform me on more than one occasion that he was going through this. certainly, mr. george, we all wish your mother well. but you definitely kept this side informed also. thank you. >> sorry you are going through that. as chairman, i'd like to inform you that there is a vote on the floor. it's my intention to recognize mr. desjarlais for five minutes. then we'll have a recess. we won't reconvene before 10:45, sometime after that. a few minutes after the last vote, we will resume. we'll have to adjourn briefly. but for now, let's recognize the gentleman from tennessee for five minutes. >> thank you. mr. george, how long has this investigation been ongoing? >> at least since -- well, it
depends upon how you -- the investigation of the missing e-mails as opposed to the tax exemption organization? >> both. >> two years? >> tax exempt was may 2013. investigation was june 2014. >> since may of 2013, the exempt organizations, and roughly june 2014, the exempt missing e-mails. >> and apparently, according to the ranking member, we've had 22 hearings now and we've spent $20 million. sometimes it's hard to remember what the focus is of why we're here because it's drug on so long. it's drug on so long because the irs has not been cooperating with us. also, i have to wonder as investigators like yourself, how hard it is to conduct an investigation when the president informed you that there's not a smidgen of corruption. does it make it difficult to conduct an interview when the leader of this country, the leader that was benefitted by the fact that the irs admittedly targeted conservative groups that were going to work against
his presidency has informed you that there is not a smidgen of corruption. is that a concern? >> there's a drip, drip, drip here. with every new uncovery of information, whether it's testimony, interviews, finding of backup tapes, this extends the course of the investigation. so that is why this has been -- is still ongoing. there was a question of the cost of the meetings. watergate had 250 hours of testimony. we have not approached that. watergate in today's terms cost more than this. we have an incident that's every bit if not more serious than watergate. it disheartens me that we have opposition to these hearings. eventually, democracy affects all of us regardless of party. maybe at some point, we'll get to the bottom of something
that will matter to people on the other side of the aisle. there's been a lot of comments today about the numbers of e-mails you're throwing out there. 10,000, 30,000. you're being criticized for that. as investigators, how many e-mails does it take to incriminate somebody of wrongdoing? >> one. >> yeah, one e-mail. what does it matter how many numbers are being thrown out there? we're trying to get to the truth. so i commend you guys for working hard and doing that. who at the irs was overseeing the destruction of the backup tapes, or who was in charge of that? >> there was a group of individuals. but the first-line manager was a manager out of west virginia named charles stanton. >> what was kate duval's role? >> kate duval was in charge of the e-mail production to the congress. >> okay. did you interview ms. duval? >> we did.
>> and was she aware that there was a problem with the collections of the e-mails? >> yes, she was. >> and what was her response? >> well, they realized, because she was running the effort at that time to gather the e-mails and produce them, when they realized there was a hole in the production, she's the one that informed the treasury that they were having difficulty with the e-mails. she is also the one that informed the commissioner that they were having trouble gathering the e-mails. >> was she held accountable for the fact that they are missing, that these have been destroyed? >> ms. duval, i understand, is no longer at the internal revenue service. at the conclusion of the invest gaugs, the irs will get the report and i believe they'll take appropriate action based on what we found in the report concerning individuals. >> do you feel that, in your investigation to this point, knowing the irs has admittedly targeted conservative groups, they admitted wrong doing.
lois lerner took the fifth, she didn't want to incriminate herself. do you agree with the president's statement that there is not a smidgen of corruption in the irs? >> it's difficult to agree with a broad statement at any time. our job is to root out corruption at the irs. so whether it's this matter or any other matter, we take great pride in conducting thorough investigations. and if there is corruption, we're determined to find it and root it out. >> i certainly appreciate the work you're doing, and i know the american people appreciate the work you're doing. this was an assault on democracy, the democratic process and the way elections are conducted. i commend you two gentlemen and yield back. >> i thank the gentleman. we'll recess and reconvene no sooner than 10:45. honestly, probably going to be a little bit longer. we stand in recess.
>> thank you, mr. chairman. when i was asked the name of the manager at the irs at the time the tapes were erased or destroyed, i shared the name charles stanton. he wasn't actually the manager at that time. we're working on getting that name. we'll provide it for the record. stanton has been very cooperative. >> thank you. appreciate the clarification. we'll now recognize the gentleman from south carolina, mr. gowdy, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. george, i'll start by encouraging you to take heart. when the other side makes attacks, it's generally because they don't have the facts, law or, frankly, logic. i know it is difficult for you to sit there and absorb those attacks, but the reality is, that is kind of the last vestage of what folks have left to argue. i'll ask questions, and either one of you can answer them.
i'm a simple man, so i'm going to start kind of simply. with respect to the irs investigation/targeted investigations, were there, at some point, subpoenas in place? >> there were. >> okay. were there requests to preserve evidence in place? >> yes. >> were there ongoing congressional investigations? >> there were, sir. >> were there ongoing ig investigations? >> definitely. >> and purportedly, there was an ongoing doj investigation, although we've seen scant evidence of that. at least that's the allegation, right? >> yes. and i'll ask mr. camus to further respond to that. >> that's correct. there is an ongoing investigation. >> okay. so you have subpoenas in place, you have requests to preserve evidence in place, you have ongoing congressional investigations, you have ongoing ig investigations, and you may very well have an ongoing doj
investigation, all of which leads me to ask, what does it mean, do not destroy/wipe/reuse any of the existing backup tapes for e-mail? what does that mean? >> that means, do not destroy, rewipe or do anything to that material, as it could be evidence or of import. >> oh. so it means exactly what it says? >> yes, sir. >> there is no hidden meaning? >> no, sir. >> even i can understand that sentence. don't do it, right? you can call -- you can use fancy words like degauss if you want to, but don't destroy, wipe, reuse any of the existing backup tapes. now, was that done? >> yes, sir. >> was it done after any of the following were in place -- subpoenas, requests to preserve, ongoing congressional investigations, ongoing ig
investigations, or purported doj investigation? >> yes, sir. it was done on or about march 4th, 2014, well after the commencement of all those activities. >> wow. now, i want to ask you about an individual in a minute, but i want to ask you this. sometimes things can be done accidentally. let's go ahead and rule that out. are we talking about a misstroke on a keyboard? is that what causes these things to disappear and be wiped? you're typing in a word and hit the wrong key, does that do it? >> no. the destruction that we're talking about required the employees involved to actually pick out tapes and place them into a machine, turn the machine on so it magnetically destroyed and obliterated the data. >> sounds like it'd be hard to accidentally do that. >> that's correct. >> we can rule out accident. that leaves negligence or
intentional, willful, wanton. do you know whether it was sheer negligence, incompetence, or was it a higher level? >> our investigation has shown that the two employees who physically put those tapes into the machine are lower graded employees at the martinsburg, west virginia computer center. they didn't conclude erasing these until june 2014. when interviewed those employees said our job is to put these pieces of plastic into that machine and magnetically obliterate them. we had no idea there was any type of preservation from the chief technology officer.
>> was mr. costkin in charge of the irs at that time? >> yes, sir. >> have you heard the name kate duval? >> yes, sir. >> who is that, because i think i've heard that name, too. >> the chief counselor concerning the production issues to congress. she was the lawyer in charge of making sure that counsel made production to congress. >> she's in charge of making sure that e-mails and other matters get produced? >> yes. >> is she still with the irs? >> she is not. i don't recall the date that she left. but she is no longer -- >> do you know where she's at now? >> i can get that information for you. >> no. i know where she is now. she's at the department of state, in charge of their e-mail productions. wow. i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman. will now recognize the gentleman from kentucky, mr. massie, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to ask about the date that lois lerner's hard drive
failed. because you gave us more specificity here today and i appreciate that. what day did her hard drive fail? >> we believe it failed on june 11th, a saturday, between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. >> this hard drive failed conveniently. do you know where it was when it failed? >> we believe, based on log activity, that the laptop was in her office at the time that the hard drive failed. >> so on a saturday, it was just sitting there and it just sort of failed on its own, on a saturday. on june 11th. can you tell if there was any computer activity at the time that it failed, from log activity? >> there was. we were unable to determine if a program was in place that would remove another program from the computer. it was a silent deployment, if you will. that deployment was scheduled to occur between two dates, but we weren't able to definitively say
there was any computer activity on june 11th when it was destroyed. >> on june 3rd, the chairman ways and means sent a letter to doug schulman, who was a commissioner of the irs at the time. you're familiar with that letter? >> i'm not. >> june 3rd, briefly says, as chairman of the committee of ways and means -- this was sent by mr. camp, the chairman at the time. he was concerned that the irs appears to have selectively targeted certain taxpayers who were engaged in political speech. not only does this threaten political speech and cast doubt on the irs credibility. he sent that on june 3rd, which is a friday. so it's likely they didn't receive it at the irs until monday, which would have been june, what'd that make it, 6th?
here we have june 6th they probably received this letter, and her hard drive magically fails on its own in her office on a saturday, five days later. now, before we thought there was a ten-day difference. but now, we realize there is a five-day difference. this is just an amazing coincidence, to me. i think it's more than a coincidence. i want to put up on the screen a directive that was sent out by the chief technology officer of the irs, if we can get that on the screen. this is the directive that went out to managers, is that correct, telling them not to erase the data? >> correct. >> this directive went out on may 22nd, 2013. when were the tapes erased at the irs? >> on or about march 4th, 2014. >> so about eight months later. and is this -- if we look at the
highlighted part on here, it says, do not destroy, wipe, reuse any of the existing backup tapes for e-mail or archiving or other information from irs personal computers. did that go to managers that were at the facility where the tapes were erased? >> it did. there's a lot of discussion that we captured in our investigation by capturing the manager's e-mails, over what was meant by this directive. there was some back and forth. >> what did they say they thought it meant when you talked to them? >> they believed that it pertained to hard drives and personal computers. they overinterpreted the directive, which was basically, preserve all electronic media. >> so they thought it just applied to hard drives and personal computers, and that's what they told you. but doesn't it clearly say, do not destroy, wipe, reuse any of the existing backup tapes? >> it does.
>> so if they didn't do this willingly or knowingly or purposefully, this is basically incompetence, isn't it? >> one could come to that conclusion. yes, sir. >> either that or they can't read? >> one could come to that conclusion. like i said, you'll see in our report of investigation, we captured a lot of the e-mail traffic back and forth between employees as they were discussing the impact that this has on their operations out there and destroying things. >> do these people still work for the irs? >> yes. >> why is that? if they're this incompetent. >> the internal revenue service is going to get a copy of our report of investigation when we're through, and i imagine they'll look at it and take appropriate action. >> i thank you, and i yield back, mr. chairman. >> thank the gentleman. recognize the gentleman from florida for five minutes.
>> thank the chairman. to say to my friend from kentucky, it may be incompetence, or it may just be a willful disregard of the preservation order and a willful disregard of the subpoena that this committee issued in august of 2013. those are two very, very important actions. and yet, mr. camus, in early 2014, your report demonstrates 422 backup tapes were destroyed by the irs, correct? >> that's correct. >> so we have clear guidance, mandatory guidance, and yet, they destroyed the tapes. so if a taxpayer had been asked by the irs in an audit to produce certain documents to justify their tax returns, and they just decided that some of the things they didn't want to produce or claim they were destroyed or destroy them, something tells me that would not fly. so you have an agency here that's operating under a different standard than they
impose on the american taxpayer, and that's unacceptable. june 1eth, 2014, john in front of his letter to the senate and this committee later confirmed that the backup tapes with lois lerner's e-mail no longer existed. and yet, your report shows that by doing basic due diligence, you found 13 backup tapes that had lois lerner's e-mails on them after he made that statement, correct? >> that's correct. >> and not only did you find the backup tapes, you found approximately 1,000, at this point, unique e-mails from or to lois lerner that the irs never produced to this committee, is that accurate? >> yes, sir, that's accurate. >> and the commissioner, i remember sitting here. our current chairman, when he was one of the regular members, he pressed the commissioner,
are you going to give us all of lerner's e-mails? the commissioner said, yes, we will. claimed the irs went to, quote, great lengths and made extraordinary efforts to recover the e-mails. when the commissioner said the backup tapes no longer existed, that they confirmed the ig, what did you do to verify that? you drove out to the facility in west virginia and asked for the tapes, correct? >> that's correct. >> now, do you consider that to be an extraordinary effort? >> that's due diligence. >> becausic due diligence. i'd say the bare minimum of due diligence. for the commissioner, you go to great lengths, above and beyond the call of duty, and you don't look where the backup tapes are found. that doesn't sit right. i think the problem is, and i think we've seen this with the commissioner's attitude, that he really has had a contempt for this entire investigation. he doesn't think the irs should be bothered by it. he's dismissive of the
misconduct that's occurred, and he's not done anything to really meet the standards he's laid out here by getting us everything we've asked for and, of course, the proof is in the pudding. this has dragged on and on and on. i think the american people are left with a sense of major frustration. i think that they don't like to have a situation where there are all these rules and regulations they have to follow, but then somehow, when things are subpoenaed by a government agency, government people can then go ahead and destroy the documents, the tapes and the ix e-mails. this is not the only context, the irs, throughout our whole government, where that happens. there are other things that have been subpoenaed, as we know, that have been destroyed. this is just simply unacceptable. and i think that there needs to be accountability for it. if you're destroying backup tapes that were under subpoena and that your own agency said needed to be preserved, that is either a willful disregard of what was required or a level of
incompetence that is so stunning that you clearly are not fit to serve. so i think either way, those individuals need to be held account. i don't think you can have an irs commissioner come in front of the congress, testify under oath that he has confirmed that all of the backup tapes have been destroyed, the e-mails are unrecoverable, when he did not even do the basic due diligence that the ig did by going out to the facility in west virginia where all the backup tapes are and getting those backup tapes and looking. and the thing is, there are 13 backup tapes with lois lerner's e-mails. you also found, what, over 700 at the time you didn't know what was on them. you would have to check. there would be no way to know there was only 13. there were more backup tapes that were there going to cover the time period and could have been relevant before you did it. mr. chairman, thank you for holding this update. i know this is just the beginning of our efforts to hold this agency accountable on behalf of the american people.
i yield back. >> now recognize the gentleman from alabama, mr. palmer, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. george, much has been made about the number of e-mails that have been recovered. i would agree with some of the members who have emphatically asserted that numbers matter. my question to you is, how many e-mails that contain evidence of wrong doing do you need to recover in order to pursue justice? is it 10,000? is it 1,000? 100? would one be enough? >> one would be enough, sir. >> so whether you find 1,000 e-mails or 100 e-mails or 10, it's really -- the only relevant
point here is that you and your office are doing your best, you're exercising due diligence, to pursue justice. and if there's one e-mail or one document that proves wrongdoing, it would justify the effort. is that -- would you agree with that? >> i agree 100%. i would beg your indulgence here, congressman. the staff of the office of investigations is doing just tremendous work almost around the clock, over weekends and over holidays, in order to address this matter and to locate that potential one e-mail or if there are more or if there aren't any, to find a conclusion as it relates to this. >> i think i can speak for the staff -- for this committee. i don't think i'm out of line in saying this, that we are very, very grateful for the work that
your office does and the other igs, and how you pursue it with excellence and professionalism on behalf of the american people. >> thank you. >> mr. george, i don't remember -- i think you were one of 47 inspector generals who signed a letter to this committee, raising concerns about federal agencies' lack of, i'd say, forthcoming with evidence and other documents. is that correct? did you sign that? >> i was a signature on that. >> we held a hearing on that. one of the points i think we brought out here is that, how the lack of cooperation by these federal agencies and, in this case, i would say the irs, has impeded investigations. made it very, very difficult to get to the truth, to get to the bottom of these issues. have you found that to be the case?
>> very rarely, especially in all candor under the current commissioner, he's been extraordinarily cooperative. but i have to point out and, again, in all candor, the timing is blurred given everything that occurred, it wasn't until once appearing before this very committee that the irs turned over a training chart. not relating to the e-mail investigation. it's the overall exempt organizations investigation. and at that time, revealed, ordered. so it was not an investigation, so they were not compelled to provide us that information. but they neglected to. and so it showed us -- it showed that we may not have considered something that we were unaware of. they were not required to provide that information to us. and so, that's a long winded way of saying, in that instance, they didn't share information
with us that they knew existed. and so that is one of the reasons why i agreed to put my name to that letter. >> thank you for elaborating on that. but my concern about this is, is that whether they didn't provide it because they weren't asked, i find it inconceivable that they would be unaware of the investigation and of the need to turn over every document that might have some relevance to this. and whether they intended to obstruct or impede or whether it was by benign neglect or incompetence is irrelevant. because at the end of the day, the objective is to get to the truth. it is non-partisan in that respect.
it is incumbent upon us in the committee and your office to pursue the truth. doesn't matter how many e-mails you've gone through, what's been reported in the media, that's irrelevant. what's relevant is whether or not any wrongdoing has occurred, and you be able to do your job as inspector general and get to the truth. thank you, mr. chairman. i yield the balance of my time. >> recognize the gentleman from georgia, mr. hice, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. the directive goes out to stop destroying the tapes or erasing the tapes in may of 2013. yet we know that they are still being erased in 2014. and yet what i'm trying to wrap my mind around is the fact that you've said you found no reason to believe that there was any intentional criminal or obstructive behavior. so why in the world were the
orders from may of 2013 not followed? >> through our interviews of the irs employees involved under oath, and the review of their e-mail, concurrent e-mail with the issue, it appears that they appears that they had a man fest misunderstanding of the directive. there was a misunderstanding at the management level because they didn't know whether or not this pertained to just hard drives. they didn't know whether it just contained -- >> let's go on from here. i get your point. were there ever any orders to reinstate the destruction of tapes? >> no, sir. >> so there was a clear directive to stop destroying the tapes? there was never orders to begin destroying tapes again? how in the world can your investigation determine that there was no criminal activity? >> one of the elements of most
criminal statutes is a willfulness prong and the challenge in any criminal investigation is the willfulness. you need to gather the evidence that shows that when these two lower graded employees introduced the 424 tapes. >> let's go beyond the employees. if there was no willful intent with them that would mean they were not fully aware of what the orders were. you stated earlier that the managers of the irs were responsible. they were responsible to know the orders and they were responsible to pass those orders down. so have you determined from that that there could potentially be any criminal activity among the managers or anyone above the lower grade? >> there does not appear to be any evidence that they willfully improperly executed their duties. >> mr. camos you, yourself, a few moments ago before the break
said this is an unbelievable set of circumstances that lead to the destruction of these tapes and i have to agree with you. it's unbelievable. the truth is not being told here. the directive could not be more clear than what it was and yet tapes were still nonetheless, destroyed. so the truth is not being told. why is thereto no a criminal investigation underway? >> the investigation at hand was a criminal investigation conducted by criminal investigators that had the authority to place people under oath and police criminal charges to the department of justice. my agents during the interviews of all of these folks and with support of the e-mail traffic between came to the conclusion that there was no willfulness by these employees or managers. >> just based upon what they said. so what they said under oath was we didn't mean to do this. but all the circumstances, even if your own words it's unbelievable. what they are saying is
unbelievable, it's unbelievable to us. the truth is not being told and in your own words, what you have been told is unbelievable. if it's not believable, that means it's not the truth. at some point we have to get to the bottom of this because the truth is not being told and we and the american people are sick and tired of being snookerred and taken by our government and i believe it's time your investigation steps it up. did you interview kate duvall. >> yes, sir, we did. >> okay. when was she informed that the tapes had potential e-mails of interest from lois lerner. >> she already departed the internal revenue service when we obtained the e-mails off the tape. >> did she take any action to stop the destruction of the tapes? >> not to our knowledge, she did not. >> but she knew that the e-mails of interest were there? >> she could have known and she
certainly -- >> you just said she did know. was she reprimanded in anyway? >> i'm not aware if she was reprimanded reprimanded, sir. >> you said a moment agatha she is no longer with the irs. do you have any idea if she stepped down from her position willfully or if she was pressured in anyway or running from criminal charges herself? >> i don't have that information other than she left the internal revenue service. >> on her own? >> on her own. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you. i'll now recognize the gentleman from north carolina. >> thank you. appreciate your patience. this is a huge issue. this issue comes down to integrity as well as credibility. i appreciate what's been shared of what i've heard so far today. a couple of things that i'd like to address and just to make sure
that i'm clear, did we examine the circumstances under which the irs informed congress about the missing e-mails? could you take a minute and address that? >> yes, we're privy to the production that irs has been through. we have observed the hearings. the various hearings held by this committee and others where they testified about their efforts to produce e-mails. so we're well aware of the fact that there have been promises made. there have been obligations to provide the material. is that responsive? >> yes. i think it does. let me get a little deeper if i could. is there concern that the treasury inspector general for tax administration did not learn directly from the irs that the lerner e-mails were supposedly lost. >> that's correct. we did not learn of that until june 13th 2014 at the time time
everybody else did. >> can you explain why? >> they shared with us the same information they shared with everybody else. when they knew in february of 2014 there were missing e-mails. the explanation was they spent the time between february and when they made notification in june allegedly looking for e-mails. >> all the time, though, under the guise of trying to deliver what they did find. we don't know how much of it was post posture or if it was late in the game when they found it and boom a week later. is there evidence to support when the evidence was found? >> the only evidence that i'm aware of that was found is whenever we initiate in our investigation and we recovered the first set of tapes. and then learning after having them examined that there were e-mails on them. >> well then let's look at precedence then for a moment. is it customary for the treasury
like the letter sent by the irs to the senate. talk to me about protocol with your experience. >> a case of this interest to all parties, i would have expected that it would have been reported to us when they determined that there was a loss of these e-mails because it was pertinent to so many on going investigations. >> and which i guess answers my next question. i don't want to put words in the mouth but there would be concern that you did not learn sooner of the problems given that the irs learned the e-mails were unrecoverable as early as february of 2014. is that fair? >> that would be fair. >> finally have you brought any of these concerns to the attention of him and if not, why not? >> we haven't shared the results of our findings or major con serns concerns. he will get a copy and he will
be briefed about the management failures and the observations that we had and our concern about not being properly notified in a timely manner. >> so we don't know whether he's aware of what you're finding as sort of this go along process that you're discovering. so there's been no official release of information back. is that -- yes or no? >> occasionally we would give him an update like we did the committees in as much as we were talking to his senior managers and staff. we wernlt providing him a blow by blow. >> did you have something to add to that? >> he is aware of the general findings but no conclusions yet and that will be forth coming. >> can i get the word on it today that we will make sure that you guys will inform congress as soon as you encounter difficulties in
obtaining information directly from the irs. will you let us know promptly with that. >> as long as 6103 permits it we certainly will. >> fair enough. i yield back mr. chairman. >> he will recognize the gentleman from oklahoma for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman. we have established from your investigations tapes were not sent to the labs. laptops were not examined blackberries were not examined. in june of 2014 the irs in testimony and letters stated that it left no stone unturned to recover the e-mails. was that true? >> we went through a series of logical steps with due diligence and we were able to recover e-mails. so it would appear that that statement is a relative statement. >> that statement was not true. july 2014 irs officials testified that it was possible that lois lerner's e-mails were
recoverable on discovered back up data tapes other things that you have explained here today. were the tapes being erased after july 2014? >> our understanding was that the tapes in question that contained relevant material we are -- were erased on march 2014. june of 2014 they reportedly stopped erasing all media and came into compliance with the chief technology officers directive. >> in the same month july 2014 irs officials testified to the senate finance committee the house ways and means committee. they were unrecoverable end
quote. given that recoverable data still existed on that tape would that statement be true. >> it would not appear to be true. >> february 2015 the commissioner declared that he had, and i quote, confirmed the e-mails were unrecoverable, end quote. and that -- there were in his words, and i quote, no way, end quote, to recover them. was that true? >> that would not appear to be true. >> that would not appear to be true. we have established here today multiple incidents where the irs did motte tell the truth. worst, the first amendment protections on targeted groups were violated. even stated by lois lerner in a public forum. there's no accountability of individuals misleading congress and making untrue statement which is we have established here in hearings this week we are seeing a trend whereby
government agencies do a magnificent job of safe guarding data and e-mail from the government but allow our enemies to breach them with skill. this is a double standard on the rights of american citizens. if they use the same untrue statements, on records provided to an irs audit, they would likely be brought up on charges. if an american citizen used this same standard. making untrue statements saying well, i -- i thought that was the case. but maybe it wasn't. but i don't have the records and i can't send them to you. there would be fines and prosecutions more than likely. we urge you to use a similar standard in holding the irs accountable for those that have lied to congress in your investigations to resolve and restore confidence that our government can act with integrity and act constitutionally on behalf of
the american people. you, in your auditing capacity and your investigative capacity have that responsibility that i know you take seriously but we need to restore that confidence to the american citizens of this country. and i urge you to hold these people that have lied to congress to account. chairman i yield back my time. >> one question, mr. camus i want to make sure that i'm clear because you just accused the commissioner of a crime. >> that was not my intention, sir. >> no. i'm not arguing with you. i want to make sure that the record was clear. you said that in an answer to a question, you said that he lied to congress. is that what you told us. >> no. >> well, you need to clear that up. one way or another. whatever. i just want it to be clear
because you have now put him in a very interesting situation. we are just searching for the truth. >> thank you mr. chairman for the opportunity to clarify. i was asked a series of questions that based on our investigation we found things that were said earlier were not there. any time you make an allegation or if you proven to prove a false statement there is again a willfulness prong in that. you have to understand that somebody willfully gave information that they knew was not to be true. so i'm not alleging that the commissioner willfully gave any information that he knew at the time he gave it not to be true. if that helps clarify. >> that clarifies. >> thank you and i apologize. >> but it wasn't true was it. >> we found e-mails that they did not. >> they did not what? >> that they did not find them
and our investigation showed that they did not look for them. but i am not alleged that the commissioner made false statements. at this point. i am not. so thank you for the opportunity. >> we'll have to have that debate and that conclusion but i think it is pretty crystal clear and i appreciate it. >> i think willfully is the issue. we don't know whether it was a willful statement on the part in effect that commissioner knew exactly what they had or had not done. we don't know that. >> he feels like he has the best grip on his organization. he doesn't want anyone else to come testify.
we had to issue a subpoena to have one other person come testify before our committee in the irs. so we'll have that debate. you're here to present us the facts. i think you presented those facts. i know you're not trying to come to the conclusion. that's for us to debate. >> just one thing. was there evidence that it was willful? any willful criminal act of lying to congress? >> we found no willfulness throughout our investigation. >> and one last question at the end of your investigation, if you did find it, with that if you did find that, would that be a part of your report. >> yes, it would. >> very well. >> his time is well expired. thank you. we now go to the gentleman from wisconsin. >> thanks much. i guess there's questions for either one of you.
you know the department of justice announced they had been con conducting their own investigation. are you still participating with the targeting of conservative non-profit groups? >> i'm going to ask him to elaborate but their investigation is on going. >> yes, sir, we are still participating in that effort. >> okay. it was implied before that the investigation is nearing completion. i think by justice is that true as far as you know or can you give us any status to when you think this is going to wrap up? >> i don't know the status for the doj investigation. >> so you wouldn't know if criminal charges are going to be filed? >> i'm not aware. >> okay. >> and they made no recommendations as far as you know? >> as far as i know they have not. >> are you satisfied with their investigation. >> well, our agents have shared with me that it appears to be thorough. they're waiting for the
conclusion of this case and the conclusion of our attempt to find new evidence or material relative to the investigation. >> okay. wouldn't it in general be your responsibility to make recommendations of how to clean up the irs as opposed to the department of justice. >> in general, it would. but in this particular case when the whole exempt organization's application process broke the president and the attorney general at the time determined that the department of justice would be the lead investigative agency. >> that's a little bit unusual and normally you'd be the lead agency. >> that's correct. >> are you satisfied that the truth is going to come out with being the leading agency rather than yourself? >> i believe that because we have been involved that the truth will prevail. our goal is that we are focused on the american people and congress.
>> if that's occurred we'll receive their answer. >> we've received no information to the contrary. >> i appreciate your professionalism. i will say this whole irs thing and targeting people is having a chilling effect on america. i'm sure i'm not alone when you call people for the other thing politicians do. this is something that gets brought up. people believe right now if they take a politically unpopular stand that it's not just the irs. it's other agencies as well. epa, what have you that if you say something that's politically incorrect or take a politically incorrect decision the full force of the government is going to come down on you and that's not the way this country is
supposed to be built. so i appreciate your professionalism and i hope you get to the bottom of what was really going on here so the wrong doers can be prosecuted. >> now recognize the gentleman from north carolina, mr. meadows. >> thank you mr. chairman and thank you for put a priority on informing the american people by holding this hearing. mr. george, on a personal note the passion and compassion is not missed in the unbelievable difficulty of this hearing and i just want to say if we have sons willing to do that kind of
service to a family member this world would be a better place. i want to say thank you for your service. >> thank you very much, sir. >> mr. camus i want to come back to you because i want to follow up on what the chairman was talking about. because as we started to look this whole thing of willful is a very high standard. you almost have to have the smoke coming out of the end of the gun and yet, in your investigation and i started reviewing his statements before this committee and just to express, we confirmed the back up tapes no longer exist. we've confirmed that lois lois lerner's e-mails are unrecoverable. we had another statement that
would indicate that they worked diligently to find these missing e-mails but you found them in six different sources. is that correct? >> that's correct. >> so how could, if we have these statements, how do you reconcile those statements how does someone say they don't exist and according to your testimony here today they didn't even look. how could you say that was anything other than willful. >> the issue that we have here is a management failure. >> so -- and you did and that's where i want to pick up because if we have a management failure, one thing that hasn't been talked about yet is these back up tapes are held in just a handful of locations; is that
correct? >> yes, sir. >> so in a hand full of locations, a memo goes out how in the world would those hand full of locations not gotten the memo that they needed to be preserved. >> our evidence shows that they did, in fact receive the directive. >> so a handful of organizations, all of them got the memo and then decided not to follow it? >> the evidence shows from interviews and looking again at e-mail traffic between the various parties that when they got -- when they received the directive they were confused as to what it actually encompassed. >> yeah and that's hard because if i give this to a fifth grader, they -- and i know it's harder to be smarter than a fifth grader -- but if i gave it
to a fifth grader to not destroy back up tapes. i don't know how much simpler it can be. do you mr. camus? do you see the ambiguaty is what i'm saying. >> i couldn't agree with you more. >> who's going to be held accountable? who is going to lose their job? who is going to restore or start to restore the confidence many this agency by the american people? because we've been hearing hearing after hearing after hearing that we looked we searched we can't find and yet, you found them. so who is going to be held accountable? >> many should be held accountable. >> will that be in your report
or can you get that to the reporter. >> our general process -- >> we need you to name names. >> there will be names in that report and documents of each of the interviews and i'm sure that various peoples will come to various conclusions. >> so last question, how is it that the inspector general can find things that the irs can't find, that doj can't find? should we put you in charge of doj and auditing? >> we just work very very hard. we're proud of our mission which is to restore and keep the american people's confidence in the internal revenue service. we take our job seriously and i have an outstanding staff of men and women that do that work every day. >> indeed you do. i yield back. thank you. >> i'm going to recognize myself. let's go back to 2011.
it's june 3rd 2011. dave camp chairman of ways and means committee sends a letter to the irs inquiring about what's going on with the targeting. we think that letter arrives on june 6th. we're just guessing and then mysteriously lois lerner's computer crashes on june 11th. what a coins dense. unbelievable. days later it crashes. it's reported on june 13th. so it crashes on a saturday. at the irs. you know precisely as best you can tell, precisely where that is. i would guess there's presumably some sort of card reader that would tell who was on the floor, who is in that area. did you look at that? >> the vendor routinely destroys
their logs after a one year period of time. so unfortunately for this investigation, sometime in 2012 the proxy logs were overwritten. >> they were degauzed? is that what happened. >> the records were not available to us. we looked and we were very hopeful that we would be able to get those records. >> because it's a saturday. there aren't going to be many people there i'm guessing. and it just begs the question, why -- why is this the policy? the whole reason you do the card readers is to prohibit access but that you have a record and here we have a very serious investigation and those records were degauzed. so it's so fraus rating that way. when will you issue this report. i know you're on the verge of
this. do you have a specific date as to when this will be issued? >> we made a committee to the senate finance committee to have it by the end of the month. >> so tuesday or so. >> that is our commitment so unless there's a change because of additional interviews. and that's part of the problem mr. chairman there are subsequent interviews that will have to occur and review of e-mails. so as i indicated in my opening statement today as did mr. camus, you know, we might have to issue a supplemental report. depending on what additional information comes out but again the results of the investigation or report of investigation we made a committee to issue by the end of this. so yes next week. >> i'd like to yield to the gentleman from ohio. >> i thank you chairman. i want to go right back to where mr. meadows was. how many places physical locations were the tapes erased?
how many are there? you said a handful. but what does that mean? 1, 2 3 spots? >> i believe there are four or five locations where the e-mails are centralized. >> four or five places. let's say there's four actual physical locations where they take the tapes and erase what's on them. how many people work in those four locations? >> dozens. you know, in each location. i have a list here mr. jordan but for me to sit here and count them -- i don't want to waste your time. >> how many actually erase the tapes. i have the picture in my mind is joe and fred in the basement taking the tapes and putting them in a machine that erases them? how many people actually do that. we know it's four locations. how many people do the actual erasing? >> we know there were two employees involved in the erasing of the tapes on the midnight shift. so i imagine they're running three shifts per location.
>> so some of the 30 people were responsible. they got the directive. they read the newspaper and they know this is an issue. are any of those people going to be punished? >> at this time i don't know. we are continuing an investigation on an aspect of this which is a discrepancy over the way some of the materials counted. >> because you said they got the directive. those 30 people at five locations where they deployed the evidence, they got the directive that they weren't supposed to destroy it. >> for me to surmise whether or not each of the locations, the people responsible for erasing tapes got it, i couldn't testify to that. >> in your investigation, two final questions in your investigation did anyone from the top levels of the irs kate duvall, did anyone at the top
levels of the irs talk to those 30 peel? >> not to my knowledge. >> so the 30 people responsible for erasing the evidence were not communicated to by the head of the irs. >> no. >> never talked to the key people that got the directive not to destroy evidence but destroyed evidence. he never talked to them. >> that's correct. >> and yesterday he sat where you sat and gave false information to this committee, correct? when he said i can give you assurances that we're going to give you all the e-mails. >> he may have told you that under oath and made assurances to you. >> and that was a false statement based on your investigation, correct? >> our investigation showed that he depended heavily on his senior managers. >> the same people that didn't two talk to those 30 key people. what he told this committee and
the american people was it a true statement what he said under oath sitting in that chair right there. >> i don't know what he did. >> no no. we told you what he said. he said i can assure you i'm going to get you all the information. >> and i believe he went back to his senior staff and told them to do so. >> i'm not asking why he said it. i'm asking was what he said truthful? >> i know he didn't talk to the people who destroyed the tapes. i do understand that he told his senior staff to comply with the investigation. >> thank you. >> we spent a phenomenal amount of time talking about the conservative groups. i'm concerned about them but also all americans. back on may 23rd 2013, you appeared before the committee
and we asked about progressive groups. you said that you were going to be reading some 600,000. what have you found out about the other american groups. the progressives? >> yes we have a review underway looking at the very issues as to how other groups progressive and alike were treated and the handling of their applications for tax-exempt status. unfortunately a lot of the information that would be needed to complete that review has been stalled until the review of the missing e-mails is done because there's a number of overlaps in terms of individuals and in addition, a lot of the key players involved in that process have since retired or left the
irs in the wake of the initial report and review. so we are still committed to doing that. we have started preliminary work on it. >> will that be part of your report. >> it's going to be a separate report. we're not sure whether it will be an adendum to the original audit or an additional report. because of some of the missing people we might not be able to issue an actual audit that would be accepted by the general auditing community. so it might have to be an evaluation or an inspection but the bottom line is we are going to look at that issue. we are going to determine how the irs treated progressive groups and the like and i'm using that term at large. >> so it's been a year now, over a year and we say people have left. and more people will probably
leave. so that doesn't make it any better, does it? i mean, of the 600 cases you mean you don't have any conclusions with any of those? you said you had 600 overlooked looking over. >> yeah. but i'm actually -- sir i'm also being reminded that the doj investigation is hindering our ability to talk to people. so our hands are tied unfortunately. >> i just want to make sure that, you know again, we have spent a phenomenal amount of time talking about conservative groups and i'm concerned but what about all of these other groups. it seems like they're getting second rate review here. >> you know -- >> i'm not knocking you. i understand there are problems but seems like there would be been some conclusions out of that 600, some of them. >> well, keep in mind too that our initial review was how political advocacy groups were being treated. >> right. >> and we have results from that
and the vast majority of groups that were adverse -- that were, you know had inappropriately -- had inappropriate questions and the like delivered to them were found to be groups that were leaning not to the left. i'm trying to be very diplomatic as to how i word this for fear of i don't want to use the word targeting in this context because it's too early to know exactly what was done but as we know the vast majority of the cases in the political advocacy area that the irs was slowing down their application processes. asking what we believe were inappropriate questions and the like were groups that were not deemed, at least on their face progressive. more on the conservative. >> now you testified in february that miss ever mrs. lerner's
computer crashed and she sent an e-mail to colleagues conferring that fact. do you recall that testimony? >> i know that's in the current testimony. >> is that right? >> yeah. >> you further testified that more than two weeks later she received a briefing on june 29th 2011 informing her that irs employees in cincinnati were screening applications using the terms such as tea party; is that right. >> that's my understanding. >> and according to your may 2013 report when she became aware of these inappropriate search terms she directed that the criteria be changed. did anything in your investigation call that conclusion into question mr. george? >> not to my knowledge, no. but again, keep in mind we did conclude shortly there after that that practice resumed. and so she din -- she may have requested that it cease, but her
instructions were not followed. >> so you also confirmed that miss lerner's computer crashed before your office started any investigations. specifically you were asked, quote, at the time when her computer crashed the irs employee's handling of applications for status, your response was no, no it hadn't begun. do you recall that mr. george? >> vaguely. >> and mr. camus you testified that the office did not begin reviewing the circumstances surrounding her e-mails do you recall that testify. >> yes i do. >> now that the investigation is essentially complete, does the time line we just discussed still hold true? >> as far as our investigation goes it would still hold true. >> mr. camus did the investigation review any
evidence that ms. lerner saw three years into the future and that you would one day investigate the loss of her e-mails. >> the investigation didn't show that. >> i yield back. >> we want to thank you for your work. the work of the inspector general's office. good people working hard. looking at an awful lot of paperwork. we do appreciate it. we look forward to seeing your final report but please fast forward back to them how much we appreciate their work and rely on it as a body and institution and committee and with that this committee will stand adjourned.
>> we're going to go live now to washington where federal communications commission tom wheeler is scheduled to speak. but first news from the supreme court which this morning ruled there's a constitutional right for gay couples to marry in all 50 states. it was a 5-4 decision with justice anthony kennedy riding for the majority quoting no union is more profound than marriage. he was joined by the four more liberal justices. opposing gay marriage in this case were the court's foremost conservative justices.
the chief justice john roberts along with clarence thomas. president obama will talk about the supreme court gay marriage decision at 11:00 a.m. eastern live on cspan. now we're about to hear from fcc chairman tom wheeler about the benefits of broadband internet access. >> while we wait for this to get
underway, a little bit of background. in february tom wheeler announced the fcc will begin regular withdrew lating internet providers as public utilities similar to the regulation of telephone companies and they're planning to enforce net neutrality meaning that internet providers cannot block or slow down certain websites or other online content. we're expecting the chairman to be introduced by the vice president with the institution.
>> and while we wait for this event to get under way we're going to show you a news conference with vermont senator and candidate bernie sanders. he talked about legislation to increase state taxes on inheritances over $3.5 million. he made the announcement outside of the capital. we're going to show you as much of this as we can while we wait for the fcc chairman at the institution. actually we're not going to go to that because of cc chairman tom wheeler has arrived.
>> good morning, we will start our program. i'm vice president of government studies. and along with rob i would like to welcome you to this forum of the future of broadband. broadband is a major driver of economic growth and civic engagement. through the connectivity that it provides it makes it possible for consumers businesses, and governments to communicate with one another and engage in a wide variety of activities. every day we're seeing new applications in education, health care energy, communications and transportation among other things. the internet of things is enabling the growth of sensors remote devices and machine to machine communications. it is vital that we have fast universal and open broadband.
last week the federal communications commission approved a plan for underserved americans through the reform of the lifeline program. there's hope that we can close the digital divide and bring the benefits of technology to all people. today we are very pleased to welcome tom wheeler. tom as you know is chairman of the federal communications commission. for over three decades he's been involved with telecommunications and technology. as an entrepreneur he started a number of different companies offering innovative cable, wireless communications services. he was the director of core capital partners investigating in early stage ip based companies and is the author of a new book we recommend on abraham lincoln and the telegraph. a technology that helped power a
new area of communications and commerce. he will deliver a keynoted speech followed by discussion moderated by blair. a nonresident senior fellow in the program and served as the executive director of the next generation network innovation prospect. that's leading universities connecting through next generation networks. he also serves as an advisor to a variety of nonprofit organizations. he was also one of the major architects of the u. s. national broadband plan that helped put america on the path to a digital economy. we will be archiving this event so anyone that wishes to view it after today will have the opportunity to do so through the website. we also have a twitter feed set up at #fcc live. that's fcc live. so any of you that wish to post
comments during the forum are welcome to do so. so please join me in welcoming tom wheeler. [ applause ] >> thank you very much to you and rob for hosting this. it's great to be here at brookings. i was saying to darryl and rob one of the really significant functions that this institution provides is to become a place where policy makers and the public can interact on important issues. and so i'm really grateful to you for hosting this today. maybe we ought to start out today with a little broadband scripture.
in the beginning, there was blair and the national broadband plan. the excellent work called our attention to the opportunity and challenges of broadband. the kind of work that is presently being carried on by the broadband opportunity council continues that kind of forward looking effort. and as blair told us in the first line of the national broadband plan broadband is the defining network of the 21st century. broadband networks facilitate
today's economy and today's social activity. but even more important than what they're doing now, what broadband is doing now is what it is igniting in terms of new possibilities. for the future. thanks to broadband, the often -- the unimaginable of today becomes the reality of tomorrow. we only have to look at a couple of facts that we now accept as common to see that. the largest taxi cab company has no cars. the largest overnight stay company doesn't own any hotels.
that broadband is also the igniter of more broadband. as the success increases the demand for broadband, it also increases the incentive for competitive broadband. and it's because of this two pronged impact that our policy is to expand broadband and to ensure that our broadband resources are fully utilized that means that we want to expand geographically into areas where it doesn't exist and it means we want them free of any
artificial inhibitions on its use. so here's the punch line. it's pedal to the medal on broadband policy. for consumers and competitors. it requires better network technology. it requires more competition. it requires that companies continue to invest to satisfy consumer demands for bigger better, and more broadband. it requires that broadband providers not be able to limit competition in dependent markets like apps and services and it requires the limitations on consumer demand whether on the basis of geography or economic
circumstances or disability be removed. simply put, broadband should be available to everyone everywhere. but my message today is simple. the job of the fcc is to exercise it's authority with both determination and discretion. so that technology, competition investment and consumer empowerment are able to work together to reach our nation's broadband goals. as you probably know i think history matters a lot. so let's consider some history. networks have been a defining
economic force throughout history. and they have gone to those that embraced the new networks. the exciting part about our time is while broadband and the internet may be the most important networks in history their effects are not been the most significant in history. the mid 19th century railroad and telegraph networks reshaped the economy and society of that time more than the internet and all that it has produced has shaped ours. thus far. in the key phrase in that sentence of course is thus far.
my conviction is we are on the cusp of when our broadband networks will prove even more transformative than the networks of the 19th century. and that belief is based upon this new fact. broadband networks are new in a new way. and that new way is the evolution from hardware based networks to ones that are software based. with a result that changes the nature of networks. the effectiveness is the circle
where new applications are enabled by broadband which drives the next generation of applications which drives the next generation of broadband in an ever continuing cycle. there are multiple benefit of the networks evolution from hardware to software. first we're moving from networks with limited functions. a world in which software expands network capabilities and makes them available to applications. as one person recently put it when describing this to me networks are moving from a sip world to an api world. the result will unleash innovation in both networks and
their applications. another impact of software replacing hardware is that the cost of expanding network capabilities decreases. in the old days it was necessary to add a physical circuit if you wanted to increase capacity. today it's often just a matter of adding computing power. finally, the evolution to software defined networks with virtualized components means that network operating expenses decrease. >> verizon reports the replacement of central office switching systems with software reduces their real estate costs
by up to 80%. what used to require floors and floors of switches can be done with a few racks of computers for a fraction of the space and the price. the same holds true of energy costs. powering a few computers can save up to 60% of costs as compared with powering endless switches. with all of these advantages of software defined networks the expansion of network capabilities. the economies available in expanding capacity. and the reduction in operating costs. it's no wonder that at&t has said that by 2015, 75% of their network will be controlled by
software. but this is not just about reducing costs and increasing functionality for incumbents. the effects of software based networks are also good for consumers and competitors because they enable the local exchange carriers to become more fullsome competitors to cable operator's dominant position in high speed broadband. thank you gordon moore. 50 years ago there was moore's law. that the power of microchips would double and computing costs decline about every two years.
the compound doubling every couple of years has meant that the 60 transscissors that were on the on the microchips on the moore law are now over a billion and the kaus has remained stable. we tend to think of moore's law in terms of how the smartphone in our pocket or purse now has as much computing power as a super computer of a few decades ago, but moore's law is also what is driving the revolution in network economics is everless costly computing power magnifies the capacity of network connections. for optical fibers, of course,
the result is optimal. but even with bandwidth constrained copier networks, low cost computing power allows transmissions to be broken into parts and sent over different strands to be reassembles at the other end increasing through put, and the same concept called carriering a raw tkpwaeugs is increasing the through put of networks through increased processing power. that the nature of the network itself is changing right under our noses is a significant data point for those of us in the oversight business. as the cost of delivering broadband goes down the expansion and broadband
innovations goes up. this means we are not going to let imaginary concerns and the omni present boogie man of so-called utility regulation cause us to let up on policies that encourage fast, fair and open broadband. since we have come together today on the heels of the d.c. circuit's decision rejecting requests to stay the open internet order, let's begin by addressing the relationship between broadband network openness and investment. as you know, the big argument of the isps and their stay request was that somehow assuring that
networks would remain open would erode their incentive to invest. fortunately there is a disconnect between what is said in washington advocacy and what happens in real life. well, a few big dogs are threatening to starve investment. others are stepping up. the ceos of sprint, t-mobile, cable vision, charter and frontier communications publicly said the title to regulation does not discourage investment. in recent transactions, both announced and rumored, point to the same conclusion. of course the post open internet announcements by at&t, bright house, centurylink, cox cable
tds telecom and time warner cable about their plans to expand their broadband service certainly speak for themselves. yet there are a group of broadband providers that feel that the movement from analog to digital transmission is there escape those responsibilities that always governed the relationship between those that build and operate and those that use them. public safety, national security. here is a simple statement of fact. broadband is the most powerful and pervasive network on the planet, and giving credit where
credit is due that's a line i first heard from blair levine. it's the most pervasive and powerful platform on the planet. suggestions that that kind of flat form and pervasiveness and that kind of network, it exists without oversight are unthinkable. but the kinds of oversight designed by the open internet order are a new regulatory model designed for these new network times. i keep describing this oversight as a referee on the field who can throw the flag. in our implementation, i plan to
adhere to the wisdom that the best referees do not make themselves part of the game unnecessarily. as a proud disciple of woody haze and urban meyer i believe the players should be allowed to play. referees make sure the game is played fairly and they don't call the plays. it will be up to the competitors, for instance, to advocate for themselves in negotiations with other competitors, and our job is not for what is the tough competition, and it's up to the players to compete hard against their opponents but make no mistake about it, if they
violate the rules we will blow the whistle. we're arbiters of the last resort and not the first resort, and we will not micromanage like in the pre-broadband days, and this means no network unbundling and no tariffs, in short none of this boogie man of utility regulation. in that environment at a time when consumers are demanding better broadband, why would a rational broadband provider not make the investment to give it to them? the answer, of course is only if competition is lacking, only if consumer demand is
artificially limited. companies invest to win the race of competition if there is a race. as we push onward into the broadband future our challenge continues to be assuring but the preconditions for broadband ignition are as widespread as possible and the best tools for accomplishing that are competition and consumer demand. so let's be clear. we're not going to let up on protecting and promoting broadband competition. as i made plain on many occasions, opportunities for improvements in quality and reductions in costs will be
pursued and that the benefits will be shared with consumers. continuing to encourage a competitive marketplace is a foundational requirement of our responsibilities at the fcc. our skepticism about the competitive impact of the proposed sprint/t-mobile merger a year ago, and the recently abandoned comcast and time warner cable merger are responsibilities we take seriously to protect competition, but protecting competition is only half of the equation. our job is to promote competition as well. we know broadband competition works. just look at cities like kansas
city and austin and lafayette and atlanta and chattanooga. the arrival of even one well-equipped broadband competitor causes significant competitive response from incumbent operators benefiting consumers of incumbent and insurgent companies alike. the commission will continue to look for ways to promote broadband competition. one way is to lower some of the costs of extending broadband facilities. we dealt with the inability to get access to con duets in the internet order and we are taking a effort to better align the cost of using poles and con do youets.