Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The IRS Scandal, Day 482

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The order from U.S. District Court Judge Emmett Sullivan was certainly clear enough. In a landmark victory for Judicial Watch, the federal judge ordered the IRS to submit sworn declarations detailing what happened to Lois Lerner’s “lost” emails and what steps were being taken to find them. What was provided was a garbled explanation from no less than five IRS officials with more holes than a block of Swiss cheese. ...

These sworn declarations came from five IRS officials: Aaron G. Signor, John H. Minsek, Stephen L. Manning, Timothy P. Camus, and Thomas J. Kane.

We noted that the IRS and DOJ filings seem to treat as a joke Judge Sullivan’s order requiring the IRS to produce details about Lois Lerner’s “lost” emails and any efforts to retrieve and produce them to Judicial Watch as required under law.

This is the story we’re supposed to believe, according to these IRS officials: Lerner’s crashed drive was analyzed by two technicians who employed a variety of tech tactics to recover the data, to no avail. The drives – which, mind you, had no recoverable data according to these experts – were then “degaussed” (wiped clean) “to protect against any possible disclosure of… taxpayer information.” Anyone with even a passing familiarity with the IRS email scandal would have realized that these filings were a blatant continuation of the cover-up.

Well, if there’s one thing I know, it is that most federal courts don’t take kindly to being treated disrespectfully and expected to act like a somnolent member of Congress as administration officials mislead, omit, and play games.

Sure enough, in a stunning move, Judge Sullivan took the extraordinary step of launching an independent inquiry into the issue of Lerner’s missing emails. ...

Judicial Watch has filed hundreds of FOIA lawsuits. I have never seen this type of court action in all my 16 years at Judicial Watch.

Judge Sullivan has already authorized Judicial Watch to submit a request for limited discovery into the missing IRS records after September 10. So stay tuned for further details very soon.

Judge Sullivan took the additional step of appointing Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola to manage and assist in discussions between Judicial Watch and the IRS about how to obtain the missing records. Magistrate Facciola is an expert in e-discovery.

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There is absolutely no evidence that she spent more time and/or effort delaying applications of much smaller organizations that disagreed with her politics. In fact, the evidence is quite clear that it was Lerner–yes, Lerner–who TWICE directed the Cincinnati EO groups to stop using the conservative/progressive blunt instrument methodology, i.e., the identification of applicants by “Tea Party,” “patriot,” “progressive” and similar variants in their names, prescribed by the BOLO lists.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Sep 4, 2014 6:34:07 AM

The Washington Examiner said the exact same thing, "[Lerner] believed that the discrepancies, numbering in the millions of dollars, was troubling enough that the matter was referred to the IRS’s Dallas office. As far as can be told, nothing was done about the matter." The point they're making is that she devoted considerably more time and effort on delaying applications of much smaller organizations that disagreed with her politics. Is that not true?

Posted by: YoGabbaGabba | Sep 3, 2014 4:20:03 PM

I read the email. After briefly discussing the similarities and differences in the Labor Department and IRS reporting requirements for labor unions, Lerner's email concludes by stating that the IRS "referred that information to our Dallas office to determine whether examination is warranted.” Why is that a "pass?" Lerner appropriately sent the information to the IRS component responsible for such matters. Not long ago, the blogosphere was echoing with rage on reports that Lerner had requested an “audit” of Sen. Grassley, because a political event organizer had offered to pay for Grassley's wife to attend the political event–a violation of election and tax law. It turned out Lerner had sent an email to a colleague inquiring whether the Grassley matter should be referred to examination. It was not, but the Lerner witch hunters got lathered anyway. Here, Lerner referred a labor union for examination and the headlines are that she gave the union a “pass.” I don’t like Lerner any more than the next person, but there is a very definite double standard here. Lerner didn’t refer Sen. Grassley or his wife. She did refer the union. Yet it gets spun exactly opposite from the way it occurred.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Sep 3, 2014 7:17:04 AM