Whoops! The IRS conveniently lost 2 years of emails from Lois Lerner, the woman who oversaw targeting of conservative groups

Lois Lerner's Lost Emails

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp announced today that the Internal Revenue Service claims to have lost more than two years of email exchanges between Lois Lerner, former Director of the IRS Exempt Organizations division, and outside organizations and individuals.

According to the statement from Chairman Camp:

Due to a supposed computer crash, the agency only has Lerner emails to and from other IRS employees during this time frame.  The IRS claims it cannot produce emails written only to or from Lerner and outside agencies or groups, such as the White House, Treasury, Department of Justice, FEC, or Democrat offices.

How convenient.

Chairman Camp continued:

“The fact that I am just learning about this, over a year into the investigation, is completely unacceptable and now calls into question the credibility of the IRS’s response to Congressional inquiries.  There needs to be an immediate investigation and forensic audit by Department of Justice as well as the Inspector General.

“Just a short time ago, Commissioner Koskinen promised to produce all Lerner documents.  It appears now that was an empty promise.  Frankly, these are the critical years of the targeting of conservative groups that could explain who knew what when, and what, if any, coordination there was between agencies.  Instead, because of this loss of documents, we are conveniently left to believe that Lois Lerner acted alone.  This failure of the IRS requires the White House, which promised to get to the bottom of this, to do an Administration-wide search and production of any emails to or from Lois Lerner.  The Administration has repeatedly referred us back to the IRS for production of materials.  It is clear that is wholly insufficient when it comes to determining the full scope of the violation of taxpayer rights.”

The problem should be easy enough to resolve, right? Perhaps the NSA can retrieve the emails Lerner exchanged with the White House and other outside parties from January 2009 to April 2011.

Congressman Charles Boustany, Chairman of the Oversight Subcommittee, added to Chairman Camp’s statement:

“In the course of the Committee’s investigation, the Administration repeatedly claimed we were getting access to all relevant IRS documents. Only now - thirteen months into the investigation - the IRS reveals that key emails from the time of the targeting have been lost.  And they bury that fact deep in an unrelated letter on a Friday afternoon. In that same letter, they urge Congress to end the investigations into IRS wrongdoing. This is not the transparency promised to the American people.  If there is no smidgeon of corruption what is the Administration hiding?”

President Obama’s Administration, including the IRS, has repeatedly stalled and escaped responsibility as Congress has asked them to submit relevant documents throughout this investigation.

An ABC News report revealed:

The IRS said in a statement that it has gone to great lengths cooperating with congressional investigations, spending nearly $10 million to produce more than 750,000 documents.

Overall, the IRS said it is producing a total of 67,000 emails to and from Lerner, covering the period from 2009 to 2013.

“The IRS is committed to working with Congress,” the IRS said in a statement. “The IRS has remained focused on being thorough and responding as quickly as possible to the wide-ranging requests from Congress while taking steps to protect underlying taxpayer information.”

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa issued a response to these new details late this afternoon:

“Isn’t it convenient for the Obama Administration that the IRS now says it has suddenly realized it lost Lois Lerner’s emails requested by Congress and promised by Commissioner John Koskinen?  Do they really expect the American people to believe that, after having withheld these emails for a year, they’re just now realizing the most critical time period is missing? Congressional oversight has revealed that the IRS has –potentially illegally– shared confidential taxpayer information with the FBI and lost crucial email records even as the agency continues to withhold information by not fully complying with the Committee’s subpoena. Left to the IRS’ own preferences, the White House would still be retelling the lie that this was all about mismanagement confined to a local office.  The supposed loss of Lerner’s emails further blows a hole in the credibility of claims that the IRS is complying with Congressional requests and their repeated assurances that they’re working to get to the truth. If there wasn’t nefarious conduct that went much higher than Lois Lerner in the IRS targeting scandal, why are they playing these games?

This news comes just days after it was revealed that the IRS handed over private taxpayer information to the FBI. This Administration’s lawless actions should have severe consequences. Congress must continue to put pressure on Obama’s IRS to get to the bottom of their illegal targeting of conservative groups.


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