Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
FILE - This March 5, 2014 file photo shows former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) official Lois Lerner speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Internal Revenue Service has lost more emails connected to the tea party investigation, congressional investigators said Tuesday. The IRS said last Friday it had lost an untold number of emails when Lois Lerner's computer crashed in 2011. Lerner used to head the division that handles applications for tax-exempt status. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke, File)
More emails lost in IRS investigation
Politics » “It looks like the American people were lied to …” say top two Republicans on committee.
First Published Jun 17 2014 07:54 pm • Last Updated Jun 17 2014 08:11 pm

Washington • The Internal Revenue Service has lost more emails connected to the tea party investigation, congressional investigators said Tuesday.

The IRS said last Friday it had lost an untold number of emails when Lois Lerner’s computer crashed in 2011. Lerner used to head the division that handles applications for tax-exempt status.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

On Tuesday, two key lawmakers said the IRS has also lost emails from six additional IRS workers whose computers crashed. Among them was Nikole Flax, who was chief of staff to Lerner’s boss, then-deputy commissioner Steven Miller.

Miller later became acting IRS commissioner, but was forced to resign last year after the agency acknowledged that agents had improperly scrutinized tea party and other conservative groups when they applied for tax-exempt status. Documents have shown some liberal groups were also flagged.

Investigators from the House Ways and Means Committee interviewed IRS technicians Monday. The technicians said they first realized that Lerner’s emails were lost in February or March — months before they informed congressional investigators, said a statement by two top Republicans on the Ways and Means Committee, chairman Dave Camp of Michigan and subcommittee chairman Charles Boustany of Louisiana.

The two lawmakers called on the Justice Department to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS, something Attorney General Eric Holder has declined to do in the past.

"It looks like the American people were lied to and the IRS tried to cover up the fact it conveniently lost key documents in this investigation," the statement by Camp and Boustany said. "The White House promised full cooperation, the commissioner promised full access to Lois Lerner emails and now the agency claims it cannot produce those materials and they’ve known for months they couldn’t do this."

The IRS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"It is unfortunate that the IRS experienced equipment failure that resulted in several computers crashing and some email data being lost from Lois Lerner’s hard drive between 2009 and 2011," said Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan, the top Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee. "But every equipment failure is not a conspiracy. The IRS has taken every step to restore the data, and has already retrieved the emails sent internally during that time period from non-impacted computers."

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen was scheduled to testify before the Ways and Means Committee on Friday. He was originally scheduled to appear next Tuesday, but the hearing was moved up because of a scheduling conflict. The House Oversight Committee has subpoenaed Koskinen to testify at a rare evening hearing on Monday.


story continues below
story continues below

The two House committees and the Senate Finance Committee are investigating the IRS over its handling of tea party applications from 2010 to 2012. The Justice Department and the IRS inspector general are also investigating.

Congressional investigators have shown that IRS officials in Washington were closely involved in handling tea party applications, many of which languished for more than a year without action. But so far, they have not publicly produced evidence that anyone outside the agency directed the targeting or even knew about it.

If anyone outside the agency was involved, investigators were hoping for clues in Lerner’s emails.

Lerner’s computer crashed in the summer of 2011, depriving investigators of many of her prior emails. Flax’s computer crashed in December 2011, Camp and Boustany said.

The IRS said Friday that technicians went to great lengths trying to recover data from Lerner’s computer in 2011. In emails provided by the IRS, technicians said they sent the computer to a forensic lab run by the agency’s criminal investigations unit. But to no avail.

The IRS was able to generate 24,000 Lerner emails from the 2009 to 2011 period because Lerner had copied in other IRS employees. Overall, the IRS said it is producing a total of 67,000 emails to and from Lerner, covering the period from 2009 to 2013.

The IRS said Friday more than 250 IRS employees have been working to assist congressional investigations, spending nearly $10 million to produce more than 750,000 documents.

———

Follow Stephen Ohlemacher on Twitter: http://twitter.com/stephenatap



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.