IRS workers erased 422 computer backup tapes that ‘most likely’ contained as many as 24,000 emails to and from former IRS official Lois Lerner, who has emerged as a central figure in congressional investigations, according to IRS’s inspector general.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Stephen Ohlemache reports: Investigators are blaming mistakes
by IRS employees — not a criminal conspiracy — for the loss of thousands of emails related to the tax agency’s tea party scandal.
IRS workers erased 422 computer backup tapes that “most likely” contained as many as 24,000 emails to and from former IRS official Lois Lerner, who has emerged as a central
figure in congressional investigations, according to IRS’s inspector general.
The workers erased the tapes a month after IRS officials discovered that an untold number of Lerner’s emails were lost. The IG says the workers were unaware of a year-old directive not to destroy email backup tapes.
J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, is scheduled to testify Thursday before the House Oversight Committee about his investigation into the emails. The Associated Press obtained a copy of his prepared testimony.
George says his investigation “did not uncover evidence that the erasure was done in
furtherance of an effort to destroy evidence or conceal information from Congress and/or
Still, the revelation that computer tapes were erased after officials knew about the lost emails is likely to fuel conspiracy theories among conservatives who say the IRS has obstructed investigations into the scandal.
An IRS spokeswoman said Wednesday evening the agency had no immediate comment.
George set off a firestorm in May 2013 with an audit that said IRS agents improperly singled out tea party and other conservative groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status during the 2010 and 2012 elections.
Several hundred groups had their applications delayed for a year or more. Some were asked inappropriate questions about donors and group activities, the inspector general’s report said.
— National Review (@NRO) June 25, 2015
Lerner used to head the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt status. In June 2014, the IRS told Congress it had lost an unknown number of Lerner’s emails when her computer hard drive crashed in 2011. Read the rest of this entry »
Document Dump: Attorney General Eric Holder Releases ‘Fast and Furious’ Documents That Got Him Cited for ContemptPosted: November 4, 2014
In an “election eve dump,” as House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa put it, DOJ handed over 64,280 pages of documents, a release that is still only a partial fulfillment of the committee’s request.
“This production is nonetheless a victory for the legislative branch, a victory for transparency, and a victory for efforts to check Executive Branch power.”
— House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa
At The Corner, Joel Gehrke writes:
Justice Department officials provided House investigators with thousands of documents related to Operation Fast and Furious that President Obama had previously claimed were exempt from congressional review.
[Order John Fund’s book “Obama’s Enforcer: Eric Holder’s Justice Department” from Amazon]
In an “election eve dump,” as House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) put it, DOJ handed over 64,280 pages of documents, a release that is still only a partial fulfillment of the committee’s request.
“Since these pages still do not represent the entire universe of the documents the House of Representatives is seeking related to the Justice Department’s cover-up of the botched gun-walking scandal that contributed to the death of a Border Patrol agent, our court case will continue.”
— Darrell Issa
DOJ handed over the documents pursuant to a court order. Read the rest of this entry »
WASHINGTON (AP/ Breitbart) reports: The Justice Department is investigating the circumstances behind the disappearance of emails from a former senior Internal Revenue Service official, part of a broader criminal inquiry into whether the agency had targeted conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, according to congressional testimony released Wednesday.
In a statement to be delivered to a congressional committee on Thursday, Deputy Attorney General James Cole says investigators are looking into emails that went missing from the computer of Lois Lerner.
Cole was to appear before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which has been investigating the matter. He declined to provide additional information about the investigation, according to prepared remarks issued ahead of his appearance.
The IRS has said it lost the emails in 2011 when Lerner’s computer crashed. At the time, Lerner headed the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt status. Read the rest of this entry »
“This is a major abuse of power.”
Giving it to you straight, is Mediaite:
The House of Representatives voted 231-187 tonight to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress, weeks after the House Oversight Committee voted to bring the contempt charge to the House floor. The point of contention is whether Lerner waived her Fifth Amendment rights during hearings into IRS political targeting. In addition to the contempt charge, last month the House Ways and Means Committee voted to refer Lerner to the Justice Department for a possible investigation into criminal charges.
Written by Jeremy W. Peters, it’s crafted to be the least upsetting to their Tea-Party hating readers. It’s meant to reassure them that it’s not a real hearing, about real crimes, it’s 100% political, lead by mean, witch-hunting, conspiracy-deranged Republicans, against innocent, law-abiding, hard-working servants of the people. Thank goodness it’s not about Lois Lerner’s accountability, or abuses against citizens by the IRS.
It includes this photo of an “angry-looking” Republican white male:
Here’s some choice quotes:
“Democrats invoked former Senator Joseph R. McCarthy and delusions of widespread conspiracy.”
Unprecedented, Unwarranted, Ugly and Divisive Eric Holder Goes Cuckoo Bananas on Congress’ Unprecedented, Unwarranted, Ugly DivisivenessPosted: April 10, 2014
…with a finger raised, Holder told the crowd in New York that his tenure as attorney general has been “defined by significant strides … even in the face of unprecedented, unwarranted, ugly and divisive adversity.”
The day before, after Gohmert ran out of time to ask questions, Holder leaned into the microphone in front of him and wished Gohmert “good luck with your asparagus.” It was a not-so-subtle dig at Gohmert’s bizarre remark last year when he warned Holder not to “cast aspersions on my asparagus.”
“You don’t want to go there, buddy. You don’t want to go there, OK?”
— Divisive, controversial U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
Holder has had a tense relationship with several Republican lawmakers since the Republican-led House held him in contempt of Congress two years ago for failing to turn over certain documents tied to the Fast and Furious scandal involving botched firearms sting operations despite a congressional subpoena seeking those documents.
“I don’t need lectures from you about contempt.”
In asking Holder on Tuesday about the Justice Department’s refusal to turn over documents in an unrelated terrorism case, Gohmert again raised the issue of contempt, saying, “I realize that contempt is not a big deal to our attorney general, but it is important that we have proper oversight.”
“The American people have not been told the truth about what happened in Fast and Furious. We’ve been going through all of these hearings, having to hold people in contempt because they’ve made it impossible to get to the documents… ”
A visibly upset Holder, leaning back in his chair, shot back, “You don’t want to go there, buddy. You don’t want to go there, OK?”
“You should not assume that that is not a big deal to me,” Holder added, pointing a finger toward the congressman. “I think it was inappropriate. I think it was unjust. But never think that was not a big deal to me. Don’t ever think that.”
This is one of those days where I think Matt Drudge is imitating my obsessions, rather than the other way around. Wishful thinking, I know. But readers here know, Lois Lerner is our favorite voodoo doll. At punditfromanotherplanet, a day without Lois Lerner is a day without sunshine.
For the Washington Examiner, Joel Gehrke reports: House Ways and Means Committee Republicans aren’t ruling out the use of the chamber’s “inherent contempt” authority if Attorney General Eric Holder refuses to act on the panel’s accusations against former IRS official Lois Lerner.
The committee voted Wednesday to seek an investigation of whether Lerner violated federal law by using her power to ensure Right-leaning groups were targeted for extra scrutiny by the agency, giving misleading information during a probe of the matter by the Treasury Department‘s inspector general and using her personal email to conduct official business, which could have resulted in the disclosure of confidential taxpayer information.
Congress votes Lerner in contempt of Congress, refers prosecution to Attorney General who Congress voted in contempt of Congress
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) April 9, 2014
“The Ways and Means Committee, led by Chairman [Dave] Camp [R-Mich.], has conducted a serious and thorough investigation of the IRS, uncovering abuses and criminal acts that should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said of the referral. “As I’ve said, if Lois Lerner continues to refuse to testify, then the House will hold her in contempt. And we will continue to shine the light on the administration’s abusive actions and use every tool at our disposal to expose the truth and ensure the American people get the answers they deserve.”
For National Review Online, Eliana Johnson reports: The House Oversight Committee will vote next Thursday on whether to hold former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress, sources say.
(read the whole thing here, but Eliana added the following update)
UPDATE: Issa has announced the hearing, saying in a statement that “Ms. Lerner’s involvement in wrongdoing and refusal to meet her legal obligations has left the Committee with no alternative but to consider a contempt finding.”
A committee aide tells National Review Online the panel will “make an announcement on the contempt process for Lois Lerner sometime today,” and a GOP congressman confirms that committee chairman Darrell Issa has indicated the vote will take place “next week.”
Lerner has twice declined to answer questions from lawmakers about her role in the targeting of right-leaning groups. At a June hearing, the panel determined in a party-line vote that she had waived her Fifth Amendment rights by making an opening statement declaring her innocence when she appeared at hearing in May. “I have not done anything wrong,” Lerner said at the time. “I have not broken any laws. I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations, and I have not provided false information to this or any other congressional committee.”