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Ways and Means Action on Destroyed IRS Emails

June 27, 2014

Washington, DC – Today, Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Charles Boustany Jr., M.D. (R-LA) announced a series of requests to the Administration on the destroyed IRS emails:

  • That the White House and Treasury give the Committee details of:
    • How they learned of Lerner’s hard drive crash and the resulting data loss;
    • Who told them about these events; and
    • Whether any employees discussed these matters, and the timing of their disclosure to Congress, with the IRS;

  • That the IRS provide:
    • Names and background information of all IRS Information Technology employees involved in the attempts to retrieve information from custodial computers or storage devices;
    • A timeline of these attempts;
    • The makes, models, serial numbers, and locations of all failed devices;
    • All documents related to the custodian computer failures and efforts to recover electronic data; and
    • Other information relating to IRS email archival policy and whether it was followed in each of the custodian cases.

The request to the White House and relevant agencies concerning the additional five IRS employees includes Nikole Flax, who served as Chief of Staff to Acting Commissioner Steve Miller and was a chief liaison to federal officials outside of the IRS.  Commissioner Koskinen has casually guaranteed that, despite Ms. Flax experiencing a hardware crash that rendered her laptop unrecoverable, no data was lost from this computer.  The fact is that Commissioner Koskinen cannot confirm what was actually contained on that computer, despite his statements under oath to the contrary. 

Camp and Boustany stated “We still can’t get straight answers from the IRS or this Administration about the circumstances of the destroyed IRS emails.  And, we now know that the IRS, Treasury and White House knew that years’ worth of Lerner emails conveniently were destroyed, yet kept it secret from Congress. This Administration needs to live up to the transparency and openness it promised, and give this Committee all the documents it needs to complete its investigation.”  

Key Dates in Missing Emails

June 13, 2011 – Lerner hard drive crashes.

February 2014 – IRS discovers 2 years worth of Lerner documents are destroyed and unrecoverable.

April 2014 – White House and Treasury are informed of lost Lerner emails.

May 8, 2014 – IRS Pledges to produce all Lois Lerner emails without limitation.

Friday, June 13, 2014 – Buried on page 15 of a letter from the IRS to Senate Finance Committee, the IRS informs Congress it has lost years’ worth of Lerner documents central to the investigation into the IRS targeting conservatives.  

Monday, June 16, 2014 – Only under questioning by Ways and Means Committee investigators, the IRS admits that six other IRS employees pertinent to the investigation have experienced hard drive crashes.

Friday, June 20, 2014 – IRS Commissioner Koskinen informs the Committee that the Lerner hard drive has been destroyed and recycled, and cannot recall who informed the White House or Treasury of the destroyed hard drive.