During one of this year's busiest news days , which included coverage of the crisis in Iraq, the transfer of Sgt, Bowe Bergdahl from Germany to a hospital in Texas, and the deluge of illegal alien children coming across the U.S.-Mexican border, the Internal Revenue Service decided to spring its bad news on GOP lawmakers on Friday. IRS officials claim that they lost their former worker Lois Lerner's emails covering the years 2009 through 2011 that were subpoenaed by House of Representatives committee chairman.
Among the emails "lost" were those she had sent to other federal agencies such as the Department of Justice and to members of the White House staff., according to a House committee chairman.
“The fact that I am just learning about this, over a year into the investigation, is completely unacceptable and now calls into question the credibility of the IRS’s response to congressional inquiries,” said Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., in a statement on Friday.
“There needs to be an immediate investigation and forensic audit by Department of Justice as well as the Inspector General,” Rep. Camp stated.
According to Camp, IRS officials claimed that it has been successful in rounding up about 20,000 of the former director of the IRS Tax Exempt Department Lois Lerner's emails from the 2009-2011 time period in question that it has turned over or will be providing, as part of a total production of 67,000 emails that she sent and received.
But Congressman Camp replies that the emails lost were “critical years” in which Lois and the IRS targeted conservative groups. He is now suggesting that the Obama White House get involved and have the other federal departments and agencies scour their records for emails to or from Lerner, since those records will not be available from the IRS. For example, Lerner wrote to a Justice Department official about certain Tea Party groups, according to an Examiner news story, and so those emails would be in the DOJ system.
“The IRS has made unprecedented efforts in connection with this effort, producing more than 750,000 pages of documents to help complete the investigations. In total, the IRS’s efforts to respond to Congress have involved more than 250 IRS employees working more than 120,000 hours at a direct cost of nearly $10 million,” the agency claimed in its statement.
"Well, that's a surprise! The IRS is suddenly concerned with how much money it spends on work? This from an agency that wastes millions of taxpayer dollars on trips, bonuses, and even videos of party high-jinks," quipped attorney and political consultant Michael Baker.
Many interested observers from the organizations targeted by Lerner and the IRS, as well as others concerned with having an agency that collects taxes in the midst of a political scandal, are becoming more and more cynical about the IRS and Obama White House claims of cooperation with investigators.
"They keep telling Americans they are fully cooperating with investigators involved in the Obama administration scandals like Benghazi, the NSA, the IRS, Fast and Furious and others, yet it's like pulling teeth to get documents or even testimony from witnesses who 'plead the Fifth' before congress," said former police detective and corporate director of security Sidney Franes.
"There's one way to get to the bottom of these so-called 'phony scandals' and that's to have a special prosecutor appointed to investigate each and every scandal while the iron is hot," Franes said.
Also on Friday, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., issued a statement on Friday bashing the IRS 'lost emails" claim. Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight committee, stated:
“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?
"Congressional oversight has revealed that the IRS has –potentially illegally– shared confidential taxpayer information with the FBI and lost crucial email records even as the agency continues to withhold information by not fully complying with the Committee’s subpoena. Left to the IRS’ own preferences, the White House would still be retelling the lie that this was all about mismanagement confined to a local office.
"The supposed loss of Lerner’s emails further blows a hole in the credibility of claims that the IRS is complying with Congressional requests and their repeated assurances that they’re working to get to the truth. If there wasn’t nefarious conduct that went much higher than Lois Lerner in the IRS targeting scandal, why are they playing these games?”