People who are not distraught about Lois Lerner and the IRS must have never actually dealt with the organization. As someone who has for 36 years, it is clear that at best we are dealing with fabrications and at worst outright lies and criminal actions. The fact that any American --let alone the national press, Congressional Democrats, and the White House – might not be agitated is dangerous for our society.
First, let us be clear: despite billions of dollars of taxpayer money being spent on improving their computer system, it is still rank. Second, the Internal Revenue has gradually over my career asserted more and more control at higher levels leaving agents and revenue officers less flexibility. That means there is less opportunity for an agent in the field to make their own decisions about any matter.
If you ever sat in an IRS office or waited endlessly on the telephone, you would know that this entire scenario of lost emails is not remotely plausible. First, when you sit in their office across the desk from an agent, you clearly see that they have one operating system. Just like any large operation, their computers are hooked up to a server which the agent does not control. I cannot tell you how many times over the years (and recently) I have been on hold for over a half hour, only to be told by the live person who finally arrives on the line that their system is down and I should call back in a couple hours or the next day. The IRS does not seem to me to be someplace where an individual’s computer would crash and lose all of their emails. What about other work product that would have been lost; why has that not been discussed?
Interestingly, Ms. Lerner was not the only person who mysteriously crashed her hard drive and supposedly lost a portion of her email history. There are seven people in total – all of which had something to do with the Exempt Organizations Division which is at the heart of the scandal. It is unclear from the information that was released by the IRS of the location of one of these seven, but at least three were in the Cincinnati office and three were bigwigs in D.C., including Lerner. That opens up the question of whether these seven (who all were involved in Exempt Organizations and supposedly had computer crashes) were the only ones in the IRS who had these supposed crashes or were there others? If so, how many? It makes even the least skeptical mind wonder how just these seven in this division lost their hard drives.