Camp and Boustany on IRS Cover-Up: “The American People Were Lied To”
House Republicans’ efforts to get to the bottom of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandal of targeting conservative groups for their political beliefs under the leadership of then-IRS official Lois Lerner are being met with continued obstruction.
Not only have two years worth of Lois Lerner’s emails from January 2009 through April 2011 been lost, but now the IRS has revealed they cannot produce the records of six other IRS employees involved in the agency’s targeting of conservative groups.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said that the IRS had lost two years of Lerner’s emails due to a hard drive crash. The agency was able to produce 24,000 Lerner emails from the 2009 to 2011 because Lerner had copied in other IRS employees, but emails to outside groups or government agencies prior to 2011 are apparently lost.
A press release from the House Ways and Means Committee explains that the IRS kept it secret for months that it had lost emails from six other IRS employees involved in the targeting scandal:
One of those figures is Nikole Flax, who served as Chief of Staff to Steve Miller, who at the time of the targeting was Deputy Commissioner and would later serve as Acting Commissioner of the IRS – a position from which he was fired for his role in the targeting of conservative groups. The timeframe for which Ms. Flax’s communications are purportedly unrecoverable covers when the Washington, DC office wrote and directed the Cincinnati field office to send abusive questionnaires, including inappropriate demands for donor information, to conservative groups.
Camp and Boustany also uncovered that the IRS has been keeping secret for months the fact that the Agency lost these critical records. Ways and Means investigators have confirmed that the Agency first knew of the destroyed emails as early as February 2014 – nearly three months prior to newly installed Commissioner John Koskinen telling the Committee the IRS would produce all of Lois Lerner’s emails.
Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Charles Boustany Jr. (R-LA) 63% both expressed frustration with the process and wrote, “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.”