Judicial Watch announced late today that Department of Justice (DOJ) attorneys have confirmed that the smoking gun emails of IRS official Lois Lerner were, indeed, saved on the government's backup system. A parade of IRS directors misled Congress by claiming that the emails were inadvertently "lost" or accidentally deleted. The officials also claimed that the hard drives on which the emails were stored were also destroyed, making it impossible to retrieve all pertinent correspondence that Congress needed in its investigation of IRS wrongdoing.
But other officials, including IRS employees and computer experts, told Congress in sworn testimony that the emails still exist on backup and that the agency is claiming the information is no longer available in order to avoid having to hand over to Congress potentially damaging correspondence. That correspondence, according to Congressional investigators, would show that Lerner and other IRS officials deliberately attempted to delay, harass, and prevent conservative groups from attaining tax exempt status during an election year.
The targeted groups included various Tea Party organizations, conservative evangelical Christian groups such as the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Samaritan's Purse, and Dr. James Dobson's popular syndicated radio program. Pro-Israel groups were also targeted, along with various and sundry conservative organizations.
IRS employees testified before Congress that the purpose of going after these particular groups was to drastically reduce their influence in an election year while at the same time placing "progressive" groups on the fast track to tax exemption so that there would be a greater chance that Obama would be reelected. Other employees stated in sworn testimony that Lerner and others had a vendetta against conservative and libertarian citizens and the groups they form.
When Lerner testified before Congress she made an opening statement claiming her innocence. But when the first question was asked by a Congressman on the committee, she invoked the Fifth Amendment. But U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. immediately cried foul. Gowdy, a former U.S. attorney in the DOJ and a former district attorney in the state of South Carolina, stated that according to the law a defendant cannot invoke the Fifth Amendment if they have already made a statement claiming their innocence. Lerner, thus, could only have legitimately invoked the Fifth had she done so as soon as she was sworn in and before making any sworn statement claiming her innocence. Gowdy stated that the minute Lerner made the claim of innocence she immediately and automatically lost her legal right to invoke the Fifth. The result was that Lerner was held in contempt of Congress.
Thus, little pertinent written information has been submitted to the committee in Congress that is conducting the investigation. The current IRS director has also engaged in the stonewalling, making numerous false statements under oath. This makes the revelation today by DOJ attorneys all the more crucial.
If, as the DOJ attorneys claim, Lerner's emails that pertain directly to the scandal revolving around the IRS targeting of conservatives and others have been preserved on the government backup system, then there will assuredly be numerous bombshells emanating from those records. This holds very bad news for Lerner, her superiors and some of her fellow IRS employees, and the current IRS director. Not only will these document provide the smoking gun proving that not only did these officials engage in illegal targeting of citizens based on their political views, but they also engaged in perjury. These are felonies that carry heavy terms of imprisonment.
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