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Resurrection of the Lerner Emails: IRS Commissioner Says Some May Be Recovered

“At this point, I have no information as to whether there’s anything usable on those tapes,” Koskinen says.

by
Bill Straub

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July 25, 2014 - 11:17 pm
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WASHINGTON – Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen has acknowledged that some documents relevant to several investigations into the agency’s controversial handling of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, long thought lost, may instead prove to be recoverable.

Koskinen told the House Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Job Creation and Regulatory Affairs that investigators have uncovered documents that may contain information regarding emails authored by Lois Lerner, the former director of the Exempt Organizations Unit within the IRS who is a central figure in the ongoing probes.

Several legislative committees, including the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform, sought Lerner emails over the space of several years to gain insight into the agency’s handling of conservative groups seeking exempt status under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Service Code. A Treasury Department inspector general’s report determined that Lerner’s office inappropriately subjected Tea Party and other conservative applicants to heightened scrutiny, resulting in extended delays in determining the status, sidelining some applicants during the 2012 election cycle.

But lawmakers were told in March that the IRS was unable to recover about 24,000 emails that Lerner exchanged with other administration officials from 2009 to 2011 as a result of what has been characterized as a “computer crash,” that the computer hard drive had been discarded and that back-up tapes no longer existed, a revelation that drew derision from congressional Republicans.

Now the possibility exists that at least some emails can be recovered. Koskinen told the subcommittee that he has no information regarding how investigators found the documents or “whether there’s anything on them or not.” The Treasury Department’s Office of the Inspector General is going through tapes to determine if any of them contain recoverable material.

“At this point, I have no information as to whether there’s anything usable on those tapes,” he said.

Lerner was subpoenaed to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee but she refused, invoking her Fifth Amendment rights, but only after declaring that she has done nothing wrong.

Reports that back-up tapes may have shown up first surfaced on Monday when the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee released portions of an interview it conducted with IRS Deputy Associate Chief Counsel Thomas Kane, who indicated that some back-ups of Lerner’s e-mails may still exist.

That testimony conflicted with a memo sent by the IRS to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), dated June 13, which “confirmed that back-up tapes from 2011 no longer exist because they have been recycled.”

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, found the revelation from Kane, in wake of the IRS declaration asserting that the back-ups had been destroyed, curious.

“I’m struck by the fact that the IRS attempted to keep a key witness like Mr. Kane away from investigators and only agreed to his appearance after I issued a subpoena for his testimony,” Issa said. “Finding out that IRS Commissioner Koskinen jumped the gun in reporting to Congress that the IRS ‘confirmed’ all back-up tapes had been destroyed makes me even more suspicious of why he waited months to inform Congress about lost Lois Lerner e-mails. Commissioner Koskinen has repeatedly blamed the reporting delay on an effort to be sure what he said was correct, we now know that wasn’t the case.”

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Top Rated Comments   
The crashed hard drive, no back up tapes and unrecoverable emails was being picked apart. Every liberal and conservative radio show host from the smallest market to the largest was picking it apart. All they have to do is get an IT person on the phone. So the Obama administration was getting hurt with that lie

So now they will 'cherry pick' which emails to recover and taunt the House of Representatives the whole time with what they don't give them. They will have the Mouth of Obama tell the press corps "We worked so hard, retrieved a few emails and the Republicans say it isn't enough.Those evil Republicans.".
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
At this point, anything the report as 'recoverable' is just the sanitized stuff that doesn't implicate the wrong person or group.

That's assuming they present even the recovered emails honestly. By this point in time, they've had many months to simply manufacture out of thin air something they can call a "backup". There's nothing to stop them from generating brand new emails that say anything that helps them politically.They could write new emails that say they must be politically unbiased in their examination of 501(4c) applications and backdate them to the appropriate date, copy the appropriate people, and then pass those off as real backups even if the true backups say that conservative groups must be examined vigorously and ruthlessly while applications from liberal groups should be expedited without scrutiny. There's no way I know of to verify the authenticity of whatever documents they produce. After all, these backups are coming off a magnetic tape or hard-drive, either of which could be edited before being printed to paper.

Obviously, an ethical administration wouldn't alter backups but does anyone really think the current administration possesses that kind of honesty?
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (6)
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The probability that this "loss" of information was accidental is so near to zero as to be deemed zero. It reminds me of the case of Scott Peterson.

Scott, a non-fisherman living in central California decided out of the blue to buy a small boat and some gear and go fishing a hundred or so miles away in the cold inhospitable East Bay near San Francisco on Christmas eve with an 8 months pregnant wife at home. When he returned his wife was missing and he claimed she was abducted by someone who broke into the house. After weeks of searching, his wife and unborn baby turned up drowned near where he went fishing. He claimed he was innocent and it was just a coincidence. Just as it was a coincidence that of the millions of hard drives, backup drives and tapes that are managed by the IRS and its contractors, only those that would confirm Lois Lerner's politicizing of the IRS were accidentally destroyed.

Scott is doing life in prison now. He should be joined by Lois and her partners in crime.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
The crashed hard drive, no back up tapes and unrecoverable emails was being picked apart. Every liberal and conservative radio show host from the smallest market to the largest was picking it apart. All they have to do is get an IT person on the phone. So the Obama administration was getting hurt with that lie

So now they will 'cherry pick' which emails to recover and taunt the House of Representatives the whole time with what they don't give them. They will have the Mouth of Obama tell the press corps "We worked so hard, retrieved a few emails and the Republicans say it isn't enough.Those evil Republicans.".
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Koskinen of the Bailey. The cobra is in charge of the Reptile House papers.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
The only question for the Dems is, "Can this be strung out past 1/20/17?" At a minimum, past 11/08/16.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
At this point, anything the report as 'recoverable' is just the sanitized stuff that doesn't implicate the wrong person or group.

Once all of the connections past Louis Lerner have been destroyed, she will be released for slaughter.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
At this point, anything the report as 'recoverable' is just the sanitized stuff that doesn't implicate the wrong person or group.

That's assuming they present even the recovered emails honestly. By this point in time, they've had many months to simply manufacture out of thin air something they can call a "backup". There's nothing to stop them from generating brand new emails that say anything that helps them politically.They could write new emails that say they must be politically unbiased in their examination of 501(4c) applications and backdate them to the appropriate date, copy the appropriate people, and then pass those off as real backups even if the true backups say that conservative groups must be examined vigorously and ruthlessly while applications from liberal groups should be expedited without scrutiny. There's no way I know of to verify the authenticity of whatever documents they produce. After all, these backups are coming off a magnetic tape or hard-drive, either of which could be edited before being printed to paper.

Obviously, an ethical administration wouldn't alter backups but does anyone really think the current administration possesses that kind of honesty?
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
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