The unbelievable has become the reality in the ongoing IRS scandal and investigation. It was reported yesterday that all of former administrator Lois Lerner’s outgoing emails for the last two years have been “lost.” Conservatives, and for that matter lawmakers in general, are understandably outraged at the IRS' disclosure late Friday.
The revelation is conducive to “The dog ate my homework” or some other childish excuse. It is being compared to the infamous Nixon missing tapes from the Watergate scandal. Washington attorney Cleta Mitchell, representing several groups in a federal lawsuit over applications for tax-exempt status, called the IRS “Liars. They’re such liars. Unbelievable. This is outrageous. They’re lying.”
The plain and simple truth is that had this come under a Republican administration, the mainstream media would be calling for the heads of Obama on down. Mitchell said, “This is like the 18-and-a-half minutes in Rose Mary Woods' tape.” Woods was Nixon’s personal secretary and reported the tape gap of a June 20, 1972 key conversation between Nixon and Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman.
Jenny Beth Martin, the co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, suing the IRS, said the revelation "doesn’t pass the smell test and smacks of obstruction of justice."
Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, which is representing 41 targeted groups in a federal lawsuit against the IRS, said "this is insanity. Hollywood couldn’t write a script with any more scandal and intrigue than what is unfolding in the IRS targeting scandal.”
Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the investigating committee in the House said, "Isn’t it convenient for the Obama administration that the IRS now says it has suddenly realized it lost Lois Lerner’s emails requested by Congress and promised by Commissioner John Koskinen? Do they really expect the American people to believe that, after having withheld these emails for a year, they're just now realizing the most critical time period is missing?"
Lois Lerner was the head of the IRS division processing tax-exempt applications. She pleaded the Fifth Amendment in her testimony before the House committee. In May, 2013, her division was accused of improperly scrutinized applications for tax-exempt status by tea party, religious, and other conservative groups.
Lerner “retired” last September and found in contempt of Congress in May for refusing to testify. She had previously denied wrongdoing but refused to answer questions, citing her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Since that time, emails have since disclosed Lerner discussing her work with the Department of Justice. The IRS now says all Lerner’s emails for the past two years to the DOJ, Treasury Department and the White House have been erased accidentally. Only her personal in-house emails remain.
The IRS said the only reason the in-house emails were saved is because Lerner had copied in other IRS employees. The agency said it pieced together the emails from the computers of 83 other IRS employees. An “undetermined number are gone,” the agency said.
The nation’s tax agency went on to say they “had gone to great lengths cooperating with congressional investigations, spending nearly $10 million to produce more than 750,000 documents.” The IRS said it had produced 67,000 emails to and from Lerner, covering the period from 2009 to 2013.
Mitchell called it “standard fare” for the Obama White House: a late-Friday afternoon release of major news. They do it over and over and over. There are so many questions that are raised by this 'revelation. Why are we just hearing this today, more than a year after the investigation started? What exactly are the FBI and NSA's forensics experts doing to retrieve this 'hard-drive crash? Do we believe that the FBI has not been called in, and that they have not been able to retrieve these 'lost' emails? There are so many things."
The pressure of this ongoing investigation, “Fast and Furious,” Benghazi, the Iraqi collapse and several other crisis have led many in Washington to believe the Obama administration is coming apart at the seams. It growing increasingly difficult to dispute that accusation for even the most partisan supporters of this administration.
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