House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) indicated that it could be easier for his panel to track a cover-up in the IRS targeting scandal with fresh reports that the IRS destroyed Lois Lerner’s hard drive.
Politico reported last night that the IRS recycled the hard drive of the former IRS official who led the office screening 501(c)(4) applicants.
Just this week, Issa had issued a subpoena for “all hard drives, external drives, thumb drives and computers” and “all electronic communication devices the IRS issued to Lois G. Lerner.”
“If the IRS truly got rid of evidence in a way that violated the Federal Records Act and ensured the FBI never got a crack at recovering files from an official claiming a Fifth amendment protection against self-incrimination , this is proof their whole line about ‘losing’ e-mails in the targeting scandal was just one more attempted deception,” Issa said.
“Old and useless binders of information are still stored and maintained on federal agency shelves; official records, like the e-mails of a prominent official, don’t just disappear without a trace unless that was the intention,” he added.
White House press secretary Jay Carney tried to pass reporters off to the IRS when asked about the lost communications at Wednesday’s press briefing.
“They are producing 67,000 e-mails sent or received from Lois Lerner. This is part of their production of 750,000 pages of documents to Congress,” Carney said. “As the IRS said, IT professionals worked to restore Lerner’s hard drive but were unable to do so. Nonetheless, the IRS has or will produce 24,000 Lerner e-mails from this 2009-2011 time period largely from the files of the other 82 individuals.”
“So I think that answers your question that they are engaging in an effort to find e-mails in the absence of being able to restore the hard drive.”
He noted that House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) requested emails between Lerner and the White House.
“We were asked if we would produce them; we did, in fact, do a search for all communications between Lois Lerner and any person within the Executive Office of the President for this period,” Carney said. “We found zero e-mails — sorry to disappoint — between Lois Lerner and anyone within the EOP during this period. We found three e-mails where a third party e-mailed both Lois Lerner and officials within the EOP. One was a spam e-mail and two others were from a person seeking tax assistance. Each of these e-mails has been produced to Congress.”