Recently, U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) has been spreading the word, alongside other members of Congress, on what he feels is a cover up by the Internal Revenue Service of foul play in handling political group tax exemptions.
Together, the representatives are pressing to find information in what they believe to be politically motivated misconduct by former director of IRS Exempt Organizations Unit, Lois Lerner.
In what is being referred to as an IRS “controversy” of 2013, Lerner, as then head of the IRS’s division on tax exempt organizations, allegedly unfairly scrutinized specific political groups according to orientation; namely political groups with conservative affiliations.
The investigation, which began last year, was recently halted by an apparent “computer crash” that affected emails regarding the case — specifically any of Lerner’s emails to members outside of the IRS between January 2009 and April 2011.
On June 13, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Michigan) issued a 27-page statement regarding the IRS informing the Committee of the lost emails.
Camp’s statement includes copies of the emails sent between Lerner and Lillie Wilburn, Field Director at the Headquarters CSSC of the Information Technology Division. Wilburn was chosen as an IT expert to work on recovering Lerner’s drive containing the emails under question.
In the email thread between Wilburn and Lerner on the status of the drive, the subject head reads, “Careful What You Ask For.” Lerner shows hopefulness of recovery for her drive in the email conversation, but also uses casual phrases that point to her readiness to accept that the data is unrecoverable.
“We can only try – but it may be too late – don’t they send them off to the hard drive cemetery?” Lerner wrote in a 2011 email regarding her drive. “In any event, thanks to all.”
In a following email from Wilburn to Lerner in 2011, Wilburn wrote that “unfortunately the news is not good” on Lerner’s drive, as the sectors were bad on the hard drive making the data unrecoverable.
Although in previous emails Lerner had mentioned there were “irreplaceable” documents that would be lost, her response to the final word on the failed recovery was more casual.
“Thanks for trying,” Lerner wrote to Wilburn in an email. “I really do appreciate the effort. Sometimes stuff just happens.”
Denham has recently shared his view on the incident through his Facebook Page, showing his frustration in what he believes to be a cover up.
“The IRS told the House Ways and Means committee that 28 months of correspondence between Lois Lerner and anyone outside of the IRS was ‘unrecoverable’ due to a ‘computer crash,’” a post from Denham’s official Facebook page said June 16. “After a year of investigating, we are just now being told the emails we’ve requested don’t exist? The American people are entitled to the truth and it is clear that we are yet to get the entire story.”
In the post, Denham promised to “continue to work with [his] colleagues” to provide answers. Denham feels that if the investigation proves that Lois Lerner and the IRS engaged in political targeting in the lost emails, then criminal charges must be pursued.
Denham explained in a separate Facebook post that the revealing of the “computer crash,” comes at an ironic anniversary.
“Remember when Nixon's secretary ‘accidentally’ recorded over 18 1/2 minutes of the president's conversations with his chief of staff? The lost conversation on those tapes took place on June 20, 1972. 42 years later to the week, the IRS's latest claim that they lost the emails of seven different employees due to a ‘computer crash’ feels eerily familiar.”