Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) mocked his GOP colleagues’ conspiracy-minded investigations on Friday, asking IRS Commissioner John Koskinen questions about Benghazi, President Obama’s birth certificate, and even Area 51 during a contentious hearing on Capitol Hill.
Koskinen was testifying before the House Ways and Means Committee about the IRS’ efforts to recover emails that were lost when former IRS official Lois Lerner’s hard drive crashed in 2011. Some Republicans have alleged that Lerner intentionally deleted the emails because they contained evidence that the IRS was illegally harrassing Tea Party groups that had applied for tax exemption (although no Tea Party organizations were actually denied tax-exempt status).
“Now let me ask you, as to the seriousness of this investigation: Sir, have you ever been in Benghazi?” Doggett asked Koskinen.
“No,” Koskinen replied.
“Do you know if you or Ms. Lerner have ever had any responsibility for anything having to do with Benghazi and our embassy there?”
“How about Area 51 out in Roswell, New Mexico, where all those space aliens allegedly came? Have you ever had any responsibility for that?”
“Have you ever had custody of the president’s birth certificate?” Doggett asked, drawing some laughter from the audience.
“Well commissioner, I believe one of the mistakes that you’ve made in dealing with the committee today is that you did assume professionally that this was a serious inquiry,” Doggett said. “I believe it is an endless conspiracy theory that’s involved here, that is being exploited purely for political purposes.”
Doggett was one of several congressmemembers to use the hearing as an opportunity for grandstanding. Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) dramatically told Koskinen that “what you have lost is all credibility,” and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) angrily accused Koskinen lying about the emails, which would constitute perjury.
Screenshot via C-SPAN
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