A somewhat testy and revealing exchange happened today between Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) and star witness David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), at today’s IRS hearing regarding the disappearance of Lois Lerner’s “missing” emails.
The House Republican asked if the IRS’s refusal to inform Mr. Ferriero's department immediately about the missing documents broke the Federal Records Act -- which, according to the witness's own sworn testimony, states that “when an agency becomes aware of an incident of unauthorized destruction, they must report the incident to us.” Ferriero, for his part, also testified that he learned about the "alleged unauthorized disposal [of emails]" in a letter from the Senate Committee on Finance, which was sent to NARA on June 13, 2014.
“Any agency is required to notify us when they realize they have a problem,” Ferriero claimed, reiterating what he had said in his opening statement.
“But they didn’t do that?” Rep. Walberg asked.
“That’s right,” Ferriero admitted.
Rep. Walberg then asked if the agency broke federal law.
“I’m not a lawyer,” Ferriero replied.
"But you administer the Federal Records Act," Rep. Walberg quickly pointed out.
"I do.""[So] if they didn't follow it, can we safely assume they broke the law?” Rep. Walberg asked.
”They did not follow the law,” Ferriero replied.
UPDATE: Video added:
Editor's note: This post has been updated.