The plot thickens around the IRS missing emails today with the discovery of the Sonasoft contract and the date the IRS severed their contract with the company. This is an information archiving company that was used by the IRS to backup documents and emails from the IRS computers. The IRS was under contract with Sonasoft during the time Lois Lerner's emails were destroyed due to a server crash, which means the company would have backed them up, or does it?
When the Congressional Committee meets with the IRS Commissioner John Koskinen on Monday morning many more questions need to be answered. The IRS reportedly hired the company in 2005 to archive all documents and emails from the IRS computers. The IRS canceled its contract with Sonasoft just weeks after Lois Lerner’s computer crashed, according to the Daily Caller on June 22.
Sonasoft did provide the automatic data processing services for the IRS, which included backing up documents and emails during the time period of Lerner’s now famous missing emails. This means the emails were backed up and since the IRS paid for those years between 2005 and 2011 for document backup, you would think they should be able to access them.
“Fox and Friends” on Monday morning June 23, reports that the timing of the IRS ending their relationship with Sonasoft has created an entire new line of questioning for the IRS. This would start with answering the question as to why they abruptly ended their six year relationship with Sonasoft. This could mean that the emails were destroyed by the company because they were confidential and their contract with the IRS ended. This seems very convenient to say the least.
If that is the case, what did the IRS put in place to backup the documents once Sonasoft was gone? How could they go from being conscientious enough to hire an outside agency to backup their documents and emails for six years and then do nothing? It will be hard for the IRS to point the finger at finances, as the website Powerline reports today that in 2011, the IRS budget was astronomical for information services.
This contract that was canceled with Sonasoft occurred in the context of a $1.8 billion annual budget for information services. They also had another $330 million annually for “business systems modernization. With this sizable budget, they would be hard pressed to say they couldn’t find money to fund this archival contract.
The timing of this severed relationship is of vital importance, as it not only occurred right after Lerner’s computer crashed, but also shortly after the IRS received a letter from Rep. Dave Camp specifically asking them if they targeted nonprofits for audits.
The contract abruptly ended at the close of the IRS’s fiscal year in 2011. It sounds as if the computers at the IRS suddenly started a technology revolt, which inanimate objects just can't do, as the Daily Caller reports:
"Sonasoft’s six-year business relationship with the IRS came to an abrupt end at the close of fiscal year 2011, as congressional investigators began looking into the IRS conservative targeting scandal and IRS employees’ computers started crashing left and right."
The IRS contract with Sonasoft ended on August 31, 2011. In accordance with the federal government’s guidelines for closing out government contracts, an audit was done. It was eight days later, on September 8, 2011 that the IRS officially severed its relationship with Sonasoft.
The government policy for ending contracts requires the agency to recoup any money coming to them from closing out a contract and this is why an audit is done. The "IRS de-allocated 36 cents" when that audit was complete on September 8. What was that about?
It is not known how much that audit cost the IRS for that 36 cents, but chances are the amount of money spent was far greater than pocket change.
Lerner’s computer crashed just 10 days after the House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp wrote a letter to the IRS asking if the agency was deliberately targeting nonprofit groups. Two months later when the Sonasoft contract ended the IRS did not renew the email-archiving service and severed its ties with the company.
Nicole Flax, who is an IRS official and a frequent visitor to the White House saw her own computer crash three months after the IRS and Sonasoft parted ways. It sounds as if the IRS lacked a good tech department with all these crashing computers and information being lost into the black holes of technology.
Donald Trump weighed in with "Fox and Friends" on Monday morning and he said that "emails never go away." During his career, which is an extensive business background, he has run across big companies that don't allow employees to email because they can never get rid of them. Emails can be retrieved from either the sender or receiver, said Trump.
According to the Washington Post on Monday morning, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa handed a "massive homework assignment" to the IRS Commissioner, John Koskinen.
In a letter on Saturday, Issa requested the answers to more than 50 technological questions that are related to the missing records. He would like those answers before Koskinen testifies about the matter when the hearing resumes on Monday evening. While Issa get his request? That remains to be seen.
The above video is a Sonasoft commercial explaining the ease of recovering your emails if your computer crashes and you have Sonasoft as your backup company. Does this smell bad to anyone else?