IRS Deleted Hundreds of Back-up Tapes Containing Thousands of Lerner Emails After Congressional Subpoena Was Issued

Posted: Jun 25, 2015 2:40 PM

This used to be called obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence. 

According to new information from the House Oversight Committee, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration [TIGTA] Russell George and Deputy Inspector General for Investigations Tim Camus, the IRS deleted hundreds of backup tapes containing thousands of emails belonging to former IRS official Lois Lerner, the woman at the center of the conservative targeting scandal. The tapes were destroyed nine months after a congressional subpoena was issued to the agency demanding they be preserved and turned over. 

"As Ms. Lerner’s hard drive could not be recovered and the 422 tapes most likely to have contained Ms. Lerner’s e-mails from 2010 and 2011 were erased in March 2014, we were unable to recover all of the missing e-mails. Comparing the IRS e-mail transaction logs to the IRS production to the Congress revealed there could be as many as 23,000 to 24,000 additional missing e-mails. As a result of the investigative process, TIGTA was successful in recovering over 1,000 e-mails that the IRS did not produce to the Congress, DOJ,or TIGTA. The investigation also revealed that prior to our investigation and our efforts to recover Ms. Lerner’s missing emails; the IRS did not search for, review or examine the two separate sources of backup tapes, the server hard drives, or the loaner laptops that ultimately produced new, previously undisclosed emails," George said during congressional testimony Thursday.

According George, 24,000 Lerner emails were destroyed. By the way, Lerner's harddrive "crashed" on a Saturday, the same week the House Ways and Means Committee sent the IRS a letter inquiring about the agency targeting conservatives.

Oh, and then there's this little gem.

"When asked about the possible cause of the hard drive failure, the HP technician opined that heat-related failures are not seen often, and based on the information provided to him, the hard drive more than likely crashed due to an impact of some sort. However, because the HP technician did not examine the hard drive as part of his work on the laptop, it could not be determined why it crashed," George said.

George will release a full report of his investigation into deliberately destroyed "missing" Lerner emails next week. 

After pleading the Fifth and refusing to testify in front of Congress about her role in the targeting scandal, Lerner retired in 2013 with a full pension and benefits after raking in more than $100,000 in bonuses and a six figure salary.