Criminal charges may be forthcoming in the case of “lost” emails.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chair, Jason Chaffetz, was informed by IRS Inspector General, Timothy Camus, the agency had recovered hundreds of Lois Lerner’s emails previously thought to have been lost.
In the late-night hearing, Camus revealed IRS investigators were able to recuperate over 400 backup tapes in which 32,000 e-mails were retrieved in a matter of two weeks. Camus noted the investigation is sorting through the e-mails in an ongoing effort to distinguish recovered e-mails from e-mails which had been previously presented to the committee.
Chaffetz was stunned when he asked Camus if anyone from the IRS had ever asked for the backup tapes and he replied, “No.”
“We send a subpoena, we send letters, we have hearings, we hear all kinds of excuses from the IRS,” Chaffetz said. “Every excuse you can have under the sun — you find them in two weeks, and then when you go talk to the IT people who are there in charge of them, they told you that they were never even asked for them. Is that correct?”
“That is correct,” Camus replied.
Lerner’s emails, which became the subject of intense scrutiny, surfaced last year and, in part, led to Rep. Darrell Issa’s report.
Lerner’s and other IRS employees’ emails revealed intemperate content and often playful language among IRS staffers as they conspired to deny or delay tax-exempt status for conservative organizations.
One June 2011 email exposed Lerner’s anxiety over the plausibility she could claim multiple IRS computers could crash within a week; Ms. Lerner invoked her right against self-incrimination during Congressional testimony.
If you can believe it, here’s an actual email sent by Lois Lerner: pic.twitter.com/1VY09EYaCz
— GOP Oversight (@GOPoversight) February 27, 2015
To conclude the evening’s testimony, Mr. Camus acknowledged his office is assessing potential criminal activity.
The antagonistic portrait revealed in testimony and emails implicates numerous IRS employees as filled with guile, now having to face cross examination with those they had not previously reckoned. The troubling emails and, now, revelations the IRS had not performed the requisite task of attempting to recover “lost” emails in their own right fits with a pattern of dishonesty emulated in last year’s testimony.
If there are no criminal charges brought, justice is the casualty.