Republican lawmakers have pressed the IRS to tell the full story ever since the agency first admitted to targeting conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
An overwhelming majority of Americans don't believe emails crucial to the investigation were "lost" in a hard drive crash.
But many Democrats have taken to heart President Obama's assertion that there's "not even a smidgen of corruption" in what they've taken to calling a "phony scandal," and have offered loud and persistent defenses of the IRS, arguing that the federal agency needs to be better funded and free from tough congressional scrutiny.
Here’s a quick list of those Democrats who have dedicated more time to telling the world what a great organization the IRS is than figuring out whether it was used to silence opposition to the Obama administration.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md.
Don't be put off by the fact that there's a set of questionable emails involving Lois Lerner, the disgraced former IRS official at the heart of the scandal, and this Baltimore-area lawmaker. Those emails probably have nothing to do with Cummings' loud and forceful protests of continued congressional investigation of the scandal.
True, Cummings’ at first had some criticism for the IRS, but those feelings disappeared a long time ago. In fact, as recently as Monday, Cummings nearly brought himself to tears as he praised IRS commissioner John Koskinen for being a hero to the American people.
Elsewhere, Cummings has repeatedly derided efforts by Republican lawmakers to get to the heart of the targeting scandal, despite the fact that a majority of Americans reportedly support these efforts.
Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va.
Despite the fact that the IRS admitted to improperly targeting conservative groups, the Virginia lawmaker has been extraordinarily persistent in pooh-poohing the issue.
Whether it's badgering Tea Party witnesses or trading barbs with House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., Connolly is always ready to stand up for the big guy.
Here’s a clip of Connolly trying to explain to a victim of the targeting scandal why she’s wrong to think anything scandalous occurred:
Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif.
Congressman Becerra wants the IRS to know that he’s deeply sorry for the congressional “inquisition.”
“You deserve better,” Becerra told IRS Commissioner John Koskinen during a House Ways and Means Committee hearing Friday.
“This hearing has been conducted as less of a hearing then it might have been as an inquisition. You deserve better. You certainly are obligated to give truthful answers, and we appreciate your trying to,” he said.
“If you find that you are being badgered or not given an opportunity to respond, take a breath and then try to get your answer out. If you are not given the opportunity, then recognize that again this is maybe not a hearing but an inquisition."
Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis.
Kind is sure of two things: There’s has been no coordinated effort to cover-up the mysterious loss of nearly two years’ worth of Lois Lerner’s emails, which were subpoenaed by Congress, and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is a very bad person.
The House Ways and Means Committee is “desperate to find any type of evidence that may point to a cover-up that does not exist,” Kind said Friday, apologizing to the IRS commissioner for Ryan’s “overzealous” questioning.
He went on to lavish praise on the Koskinen for being a “public servant who by all accounts is a model of integrity, honesty and professionalism.”
He added that Congress’ investigation of the IRS is a “fishing expedition and witch hunt.”
Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas
Doggett doesn’t think it’s strange for Republican lawmakers to question the disappearance of Lerner’s emails. He’s thinks it’s conspiracy theory-level crazy.
And he said as much during a House hearing when he compared asking questions about Lerner’s emails to asking questions about space aliens.
“How about Area 51 out in Roswell, New Mexico, where all those space aliens allegedly came? Have you ever had any responsibility for that?” he asked.
“No,” Koskinen said.
“Have you ever had custody of the president’s birth certificate?” Doggett continued.
“No,” Koskinen said.
“I believe one of the mistakes that you’ve made in dealing with the committee today is that you did assume professionally that this is a serious inquiry,” Doggett said. “I believe it’s an endless conspiracy theory here.”
Trial attorney Barbara Bosserman
The lawyer picked by the Justice Department to head the investigation of the IRS' targeting of conservative groups is also a major Democratic donor.
Obviously, this raises serious questions about impartiality.
Republican lawmakers have objected to her appointment, noting that her affiliation with the Democratic Party could influence her handling of the case.
Likewise, the American Center for Law and Justice, which represents more than 30 groups suing the IRS over the scandal, also protested the department’s choice.
“Appointing an avowed political supporter of President Obama to head-up the Justice Department probe is not only disturbing but puts politics right in the middle of what is supposed to be an independent investigation to determine who is responsible for the Obama administration's unlawful targeting of conservative and tea party groups,” ACLJ chief counsel Jay Sekulow said in a statement.
For its part, Justice has argued that its hands are tied and that it can’t possibly remove an employee for her political affiliations, noting that it could violate various equal opportunity laws.
Bonuses: IRS commissioner John Koskinen and Attorney General Eric Holder
The IRS commissioner is fairly certain no wrongdoing took place in regards to the agency's handling of Lerner’s lost emails — and he doesn’t believe the American people deserve an apology.
Because of course he doesn’t.
“I don’t think an apology is owed,” Koskinen said during a House Ways and Means Committee hearing, adding that the loss was due to “technical glitches.”
Meanwhile, Attorney General Eric Holder, who was asked long ago by lawmakers to open a criminal investigation of Lerner, whom the House voted to hold in contemptin May, has done exactly nothing.