While everyone was focused on the Supreme Court rulings on ObamaCare and same sex marriage last week, an important House hearing confirmed that the IRS destroyed the tapes with Lois Lerner’s emails. It was also revealed that the same person who ran the IRS’ document retrieval operation during that time period is now “doing that same job” at the State Department.
J. Russell George, Treasury inspector general for tax administration, and a deputy described an “unbelievable set of circumstances” that led to the loss of emails in a hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Thursday. Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said the hearing was called to get ahead of the scheduled release of a written report during the Fourth of July week.
George testified: “422 tapes most likely to have contained Ms. Lerner’s emails from 2010 and 2011 were erased in March 2014, [and] we were unable to recover all of the missing emails. Comparing the IRS email transaction logs to the IRS production to the Congress revealed there could be as many as 23,000 to 24,000 additional missing emails. As a result of the investigative process, TIGTA was successful in recovering over 1,000 e-mails that the IRS did not produce.”
The investigation has also revealed that the IRS “did not search for, review or examine the two separate sources of backup tapes, the server hard drives, or the loaner laptops that ultimately produced new, previously undisclosed e-mails,” George added. The watchdog’s office in February found relevant emails the IRS had not discovered.
Republicans assailed Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen for previously testifying that the IRS had “turned over every stone” in seeking missing Lerner emails.
“Ten months after a subpoena, eight months after a preservation order,” these emails were destroyed, Chaffetz said. That was just 30 days after President Obama, on the eve of the Super Bowl, told a TV interviewer that there is “not a smidgen of corruption” at the IRS, Chaffetz added. Yet in searching for missing emails, “the IRS didn’t even look at five of the six sources, or the obvious places, like [Lerner’s] phone,” he said. “It defies any sense of logic, and somebody will be held accountable.”
During his question period, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., who chairs the House Select Committee on Benghazi, elicited from the deputy IG Tim Camus that the IRS’ document-retrieval operation was run by former IRS chief counsel staffer Catherine Duval, who is now “doing that same job” at the State Department where Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi emails are now being sought.
“Have you ever heard that name Kate Duval?” Gowdy asked Camus. “Because I think I’ve heard that name too.”
“She’s the lawyer in charge of making sure the council made production to congress,” Camus answered.
“So she’s in charge of making sure that emails and other matters get produced,” Gowdy clarified.
He then asked Camus if he knew whether she was still with the IRS and the IG deputy told him that she is not.
“Do you know where she is now?” Gowdy asked. Camus said he did not, but could get that information for him.
But Gowdy interrupted to say, “no – I know where she is now. She’s at the Department of State – in charge of their email productions.”
He summed up his feelings on this development with one word: “Wow.”