After initially admitting it somehow lost two years’ worth of emails sent by former IRS official Lois Lerner, the agency announced this week that at least six other employees’ correspondences similarly vanished. Documentation of these communications, congressional investigators contend, could have added much-needed context to a look at the IRS’s systematic targeting of conservative groups.
Among the emails missing are communications between Lerner and White House sources as well as other key Obama administration agencies. The widespread data loss has been blamed on a hard drive crash about three years ago.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, along with House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, has joined the growing chorus of critics who claim such a result is suspicious. Many wonder why, if the crash truly led to the obliteration of so many integral emails, the IRS failed to notify anyone until this week.
Issa recently announced he issued a subpoena compelling IRS Commissioner John Koskinen to testify regarding the ongoing controversy.
“I will not tolerate your continued obstruction and game-playing in response to the Committee’s investigation of the IRS targeting,” Issa wrote.
He concluded that agency officials have “promised to produce requested – and, later, subpoenaed – documents, only to respond later with excuses and inaction.”
According to Issa, even now “the IRS still insists on flouting constitutional congressional oversight.”
Camp has continued to express his belief that there is more to the story than agency officials are reporting.
“We are simply not going to accept the IRS claim that these documents are not recoverable,” he said.
As for Koskinen, he expressed his willingness to testify before two House committees regarding the missing emails. Furthermore, he took issue with allegations that his agency is trying to purposely disrupt the investigation.
“I spent three weeks trying to restore [missing data] back in 2011,” he asserted. “We’ve got 24,000 emails from that period, so nobody’s hiding anything.”