IRS Erased Lois Lerner’s Blackberry AFTER Investigation Began
It’s been a rough five days for the Internal Revenue Service.
Last Friday attorneys at Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, said Department of Justice lawyers revealed a second back-up system that stores all government emails.
Presumably, this includes the emails to and from former IRS manager Lois Lerner’s account; emails that are sought by investigators on the House Oversight Committee because of Lerner’s connection to the potentially illegal targeting of conservative advocacy groups.
If true – DOJ officials are disputing Judicial Watch’s account of the conversation – this casts a serious shadow on the IRS’s credibility, since Commissioner John Koskinen told Congress under oath that the emails had been lost in a hard drive crash.
However many back-up systems there are – and whether Koskinen knew the number – the Commissioner has another integrity crisis brewing.
“Thomas Kane, Deputy Assistant Chief Counsel for the IRS, wrote in a declaration, part of a lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch against the IRS, that [Lois Lerner’s] BlackBerry was ‘removed or wiped clean of any sensitive or proprietary information and removed as scrap for disposal in June 2012,” reports Fox News.
The date is significant because congressional staff members had already interviewed Lerner about her role in the targeting operation. Deleting messages from her government-owned smartphone after that meeting – but before preserving the contents– looks like a thinly veiled attempt to destroy evidence.
The House Oversight Committee will have its hands full when Congress returns from its August recess.
Expect to see some high-profile hearings.