Paul L. Caron
Dean


Thursday, July 2, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 784

IRS Logo 2World, Investigators Find Proof IRS Destroyed Evidence in Targeting Scandal:

Two Treasury Department inspectors general revealed last week someone erased computer evidence during the investigation into the IRS targeting scandal—months after the agency was ordered to preserve the documents.

Timothy Camus and J. Russell George made the disclosure during a Thursday hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. They said 422 backup tapes were destroyed and about 24,000 emails were lost in March 2014, the same month IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told Congress the agency was fully complying with the investigation.

The controversy revolves around Lois Lerner, former head of the IRS tax-exempt division, who acknowledged in 2013 her department improperly singled out conservative groups for extra scrutiny. Investigators discovered her computer crashed in 2011, and government IT specialists were unable to detect why. Camus and George said Lerner borrowed multiple computers on loan and deleted thousands of emails. ...

Despite a subpoena order to provide documents, IRS employees working night shifts demagnetized the contents of Lerner’s’ computers, according to the inspectors general. They said Koskinen failed to inform the employees about the May 2013 subpoena order to preserve the documents.

Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., suggested Koskinen committed a crime by lying to Congress about the availability of the emails. He said Americans are “sick and tired of being snookered” by the government.

“I urge you to hold these people accountable,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the committee. He and other Republicans called the ongoing IRS scandal worse than Watergate.

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2015/07/the-irs-scandal-day-784.html

IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink

Comments

Not even close to the facts as reported by TIGTA. Nowhere in their June 25, 2015 report did George and Camus state that “Lerner borrowed multiple computers on loan and deleted thousands of emails,” or anything resembling such a statement. Nor did George and Camus say that “Koskinen failed to inform the employees about the May 2013 subpoena order to preserve the documents.” George and Camus reported that the IRS employees who degaussed 422 tapes on March 4, 2014 “did not know about, comprehend, or follow the Chief Technology Officer’s May 22, 2013, e-mail directive to halt the destruction of e-mail backup media.” George and Camus further stated that there was no evidence that the degaussing “was done in furtherance of an effort to destroy evidence or conceal information from Congress and/or law enforcement.” In other words, although the IRS promptly put a proper litigation hold in place, some employees didn’t get the memo or didn’t understand it.

It is also worth noting that Commissioner Koskinen entered on duty on December 23, 2013. Therefore, Koskinen did not fail to inform the employees about the May 2013 subpoena order to preserve the documents. The subpoena predated Koskinen’s appointment by seven months, and the Service’s Chief Technology Officer had issued the litigation hold–in response to the May 2013 subpoena–on May 22, 2013, also seven months prior to any involvement by Koskinen.

To be sure, the Service destroyed 422 backup tapes during the pendency of the litigation hold. And Koskinen was Commissioner at that time. But neither Koskinen nor the IRS Chief Technology Officer failed to inform the relevant employees of the litigation hold.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Jul 2, 2015 7:25:37 AM

Koskinen was head of the IRS for two months prior to the destruction of the hard drives. Given the high profile nature of the case it is extremely accurate to say a failed to insure the subpoena order was followed.

Posted by: James | Jul 2, 2015 1:18:52 PM

They said 422 backup tapes were destroyed and about 24,000 emails were lost in March 2014, the same month IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told Congress the agency was fully complying with the investigation. That's bad enough.

Posted by: Nathan | Jul 2, 2015 5:18:42 PM