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

On Tuesday, Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee – yet another panel looking into the situation – declared that, based on investigator interviews, the hard drive on Lerner’s computer was only scratched and the data was recoverable. In-house professionals recommended the agency seek outside assistance in recovering the data – a suggestion that was ignored.

Camp said it remains unknown whether the scratch was accidental or deliberate.

“It is unbelievable that we cannot get a simple, straight answer from the IRS about this hard drive,” Camp said. “The committee was told no data was recoverable and the physical drive was recycled and potentially shredded. To now learn that the hard drive was only scratched, yet the IRS refused to utilize outside experts to recover the data, raises more questions about potential criminal wrongdoing at the IRS.”

Questioned about the claim that the hard drive was only scratched, Koskinen said he knew very little about it.

Republicans also continued to press Koskinen about what they consider to be an unnecessary delay in informing the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee about the lost Lerner emails. Issa and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the subcommittee chairman, have asked the Justice Department to appoint a special prosecutor to look into the matter.

The issue was raised anew as a result of Kane telling investigators that IRS officials learned that Lerner’s communications were lost in early February. Koskinen didn’t inform the committee that it would not be receiving the requested documents until a March 26 hearing.

At the subcommittee hearing, Jordan told Koskinen that he believes the IRS only revealed the information when they were forced to.

“My theory is this, Mr. Koskinen -- you guys were never going to tell us until we caught you.”

Koskinen responded that he was advised in February that there was a problem with Lerner’s computer and that investigators had not found all of her emails. He was not made aware of the hard drive crash until April.

Democrats on the subcommittee, meanwhile, complained about the continued focus on the IRS, maintaining the probe is going nowhere and failed to establish any White House involvement.

Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.), the subcommittee’s ranking member, said the only reason Republicans are proceeding is to draw headlines.

“I believe these repeated hearings are both an abuse of authority and a dereliction of this committee’s duties,” he said.