Jun
13
2014

IRS claims to have lost key Lois Lerner emails.

The technical term for this is, I believe, ‘bullshit:’

The House Ways & Means Committee is not amused, either:

Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) issued the following statement regarding the Internal Revenue Service informing the Committee that they have lost Lois Lerner emails from a period of January 2009 – April 2011. Due to a supposed computer crash, the agency only has Lerner emails to and from other IRS employees during this time frame. The IRS claims it cannot produce emails written only to or from Lerner and outside agencies or groups, such as the White House, Treasury, Department of Justice, FEC, or Democrat offices.

“The fact that I am just learning about this, over a year into the investigation, is completely unacceptable and now calls into question the credibility of the IRS’s response to Congressional inquiries. There needs to be an immediate investigation and forensic audit by Department of Justice as well as the Inspector General.

“Just a short time ago, Commissioner Koskinen promised to produce all Lerner documents. It appears now that was an empty promise. Frankly, these are the critical years of the targeting of conservative groups that could explain who knew what when, and what, if any, coordination there was between agencies. Instead, because of this loss of documents, we are conveniently left to believe that Lois Lerner acted alone. This failure of the IRS requires the White House, which promised to get to the bottom of this, to do an Administration-wide search and production of any emails to or from Lois Lerner. The Administration has repeatedly referred us back to the IRS for production of materials. It is clear that is wholly insufficient when it comes to determining the full scope of the violation of taxpayer rights.”

Somebody will have to go to jail over this. Rather more need to lose their pensions. I am out of forbearance.

12 Comments

  • Skip says:

    So I guess it’s time to subpoena the IT guy and ask about backups…

    • acat says:

      No, do it the hard way .. use a drag net!
      .
      Subpoena *every* e-mail from *every* federal agency that contains *any* of the following:
      .
      1) The name “Lois Lerner” or “L. Lerner” or “Lerner”.
      .
      2) Any and all government-provided e-mail address(es) used by Lois Lerner throughout her career.
      .
      3) Any and all private e-mail address(es) used by Lois Lerner throughout her career – remember, this is a search of *government* computers, which *should not* have received e-mail from her *non-government* account, eh?
      .
      4) Any and all e-mail usernames (the “moelane” part of “[email protected]”, for instance, is the username) used by Lois Lerner, public or private, used throughout her career.
      .
      See, the reason Lois Lerner was interesting in the first place is she’s stonewalling about which higher-up(s) in the IRS *AND OTHER AGENCIES* she received direction(s) from and/or she released privileged information to. .
      If she won’t say, and the IRS “lost” their homework, then .. time to unleash the grep-kraken.
      .
      Mew

      • Randomized says:

        Yeah its time to put the screws to the bureaucracy on this.

        There must have been a backup and a system administrator team that runs their emails.

        They know what happened. There is probably some LTO tape out there with the data on it. Get it. Restore it.

        Nobody should be loosing data in a server crash anymore.

        Of course widening the investigation to hit multiple agencies could be fun to 🙂

        • Randomized says:

          I should add that if somebody in DC really wants to get to the bottom of this to find out who the SAN admins are as well. Get them and find out exactly what happened. I doubt that Exchange was running on some ad-hoc server farm without backup.

          • acat says:

            You caught the key point, Randomized – this is license to expand the scope.
            .
            That said, if I had to *guess*, while e-mail should be a General Services thing, I’d actually expect to find every agency, if not every branch headed by a manager/director/tin-pot-dictator of a given pay grade has a somewhat different system, possibly sitting on an EMC Centera, possibly Windows NT 3.51 with a big-ass MS-Exchange database behind it, possibly a residual Lotus Notes environment ..
            .
            And yes, definitely pull in the SAN team, but also the Networking group, the E-mail System admins, the OS admins for the e-mail servers, and .. work your way up their management tree until one or more rotten apples are found, fired, barred from re-hire, and lose their pensions*.
            .
            Mew
            .
            .
            .
            * In the case of 403b plans, this is trickier, but .. Art Chance applies. Seize the government contribution to the plan, turn it over to Treasury to pay down the debt, and let them sue to get it back.

          • Skip says:

            The thing is, I can come up with exactly one reason why this actually could conceivably happen, and that’s if someone used a different mailbox for external and internal email, like if they wanted to hide things. Assuming Exchange (and I used to work on Exchange a little, a decade or so ago) you don’t split a mailbox across data stores, but separate mailboxes definitely. So I’d be asking what the email addresses were on the ‘lost’ emails, and on the ones they still have.

  • Socratease says:

    I wonder if I could use that excuse if the IRS ever audited me?

    • Wombat-socho says:

      Short answer? No.
      Long answer? The IRS gets really, really pissed off with dumb/frivolous excuses and uses them to *really* bring the pain to people who might otherwise have just been fined.

  • Nancylee says:

    BS is right.

    A close relative of mine worked for the Navy for over 40 years, and got stuck with a lot of bureaucratic bull — including dealing with government email. He informs me that the computer crash excuse is garbage. Under the law, Federal email is required to be archived and kept. Not only that, but the emails are on the server, also by law, unless someone deliberately deleted them. Her computer would not be the only place they were located, so the so-called computer crash is the weakest of lies.

    I would think that Congress would have someone, somewhere, who could tell them that.

  • earlgrey says:

    It seems like no matter what we won’t get to the bottom of it. It makes me incredibly angry to all this dishonesty and have the media ignore it. Some people say GOP doesn’t even want to fully investigate. Not sure about that, but this is starting to feel like theater

    • Matt_SE says:

      “…we won’t get to the bottom of it.”
      Not with that attitude, we won’t.
      Easy, peasy:
      Get a court order securing the backup server, on the grounds that evidence is being destroyed.
      The SECOND that order is issued, send in a team to copy the emails. That might be illegal, but “easier to ask forgiveness than permission.”

      Instead of waiting for Holder to come and confiscate the copied emails, have a team quickly search for the most damning evidence (redacting sensitive info, if need be) and DUMP THE DOCUMENTS TO THE INTERNET.

  • Matt_SE says:

    Do not play by marquis of queensberry rules.
    Do not go through the “proper channels,” when those channels involve people like Holder.

    Obama is running circles around us because we foolishly believe we can rely on the rigged system for justice.

    Which reminds me…how is that DoJ investigation of the IRS progressing, do you think?
    We need to quit acting like suckers.

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