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Ways and Means Action on “Lost” Lerner Emails

June 16, 2014

Washington, DC – Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Charles Boustany Jr., M.D. (R-LA) announced the first three steps the Committee is taking in reaction to the late Friday announcement that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) claims to have lost key emails in the investigation into the IRS targeting American citizens.  Those actions include:

  • Today, the Committee interviewed IRS information technology personnel; and,
  • Sent requests for all communications between Lois Lerner and any persons working at the White House, Treasury Department, Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Election Commission, and Occupational Safety & Health Administration.  
  • Tuesday, June 24, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has agreed to testify before the Committee.  He will be directly questioned about what, if any, IRS rules were broken with regard to the failure to preserve documents, when he and IRS staff knew that the documents were lost, and if the IRS exhausted all efforts to recover the documents – including consultation with outside experts.

Chairmen Camp and Boustany stated, “We are simply not going to accept the IRS claim that these documents are not recoverable.  We will demand the President live up to his promise to work ‘hand in hand’ with Congress to get the facts.  He can do so by quickly ordering his White House and key agencies to immediately conduct an exhaustive search for all Lois Lerner emails.  There needs to be an immediate investigation and forensic audit by an independent special investigator.”

The letter sent to the White House reads as follows:

The Honorable Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

As you know, the House Committee on Ways and Means (Committee) is conducting an investigation related to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s May 14, 2013 audit report, “Inappropriate Criteria Were Used to Identify Tax-Exempt Applications for Review.”  The day after the report was released you promised to “work with Congress as it performs its oversight role.  And [to] work hand in hand with Congress to get this thing fixed.”  Given the revelation last Friday, June 13, 2014 that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had lost key evidence relating to the targeting of conservative organizations on the basis of name and policy position, we are writing to request critical assistance that only the White House can provide.

Throughout its ongoing investigation, the Committee has uncovered material evidence of wrongdoing at the IRS, including specific actions of former IRS official Lois Lerner, and, on April 9, 2014, referred this evidence to the Department of Justice.  However, last week, the IRS claimed that a technological failure resulted in the loss of all emails between former Exempt Organizations Director Lois Lerner and parties outside of the IRS for the period between January 1, 2009 and April 2011.  The Committee is in possession of some Lerner emails for this time period, but only those written to or from other IRS employees.  Any emails written to or from Lerner and persons outside of the IRS would, according to the agency’s own admission, be lost.  

In order to ensure accountability and “get this thing fixed,” please provide by June 30, 2014, all communications between Lois Lerner and any persons within the Executive Office of the President (EOP) for the period between January 1, 2009 and May 1, 2011.  Also, please indicate in writing when the EOP was informed, and by whom, that the IRS had lost critical Lerner documents.

Thank you in advance for your assistance in this matter. If you have any questions, please contact Committee staff at 202-225-5522.



Chairman Subcommittee on Oversight