September 12,2013

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Hatch on Meeting with IRS Nominee John Koskinen

Utah Senator Presses Nominee on IRS Investigation, ObamaCare Premium Subsidies

WASHINGTON – In a meeting today with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) nominee John Koskinen, U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, urged full cooperation with a bipartisan committee investigation into the targeting of conservative groups by the IRS and raised concerns with the agency’s ability to administer the premium subsidies that are a part of ObamaCare.  The Finance Committee oversees the IRS.  

“I appreciate John Koskinen meeting with me today.  If confirmed by the Senate, he’ll face a daunting task of trying to regain the public’s trust after the IRS was found to have targeted conservative groups applying for tax exempt status,” said Hatch.  “I promised to be fair, but thorough, as the Finance Committee looks at considering his nomination.   There are a great many questions he’ll have to answer and given the experience that many of my colleagues and I had with his predecessor, he has a lot of work to do moving forward.”

In late May, the Finance Committee launched its investigation into the targeting of conservative groups.  During a committee hearing that same month with former-IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman and then-acting Commissioner Steven Miller, Hatch asked why neither responded to any of the letters that he sent to the IRS in 2012 acknowledging that such targeting was taking place.  Hatch told Miller and Shulman that they “lied by omission,” by not telling Congress that conservative groups were being unfairly targeted.  

In addition, Hatch also is greatly concerned with how the agency will implement the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, given the agency’s role in giving out premium subsidies to those who qualify to sign up for insurance in the exchanges.  Hatch has been long concerned that the IRS does not have sufficient safeguards in place to ensure that the subsidies don’t go to those who aren’t eligible.

“Right now, I’ve got little confidence that the IRS will be able to ensure that the ObamaCare subsidies won’t go out to those who aren’t eligible,” said Hatch.  “Right now, they have a trust, but don’t verify system in place, which simply isn’t enough.”

Hatch also told Koskinen he needed to work with Congress to reform America’s broken tax code and crack down on alarmingly high improper tax payments, in particular in refundable tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit.