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Unfortunate IRS Computer Crash a Little Too Convenient

IRS official Lois Lerner testifies in Congress
IRS official Lois Lerner testifies in Congress
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

On March 26, 2014, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen responded to a request by Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) before a House Committee Congressional hearing acknowledging that the IRS can find former IRS official Lois Lerner’s emails. There was no mention of a computer crash by Commissioner Koskinen at the time of this hearing.

The IRS is now telling Congress that the emails they have requested were lost in a computer crash event. They expect Congress and the American people to believe Lerner’s email communications to and from people outside the IRS; such as the Department of Justice, White House, Treasury, FEC, and Democrat offices; during the period of time from January 2009 to April 2011 cannot be retrieved. Do they really believe this move will end the search for illegal activities within the IRS in targeting conservative groups and stalling or denying their requests for tax-exempt status? The truth is these emails are out there. Emails she sent to and received from others can and must be retrieved.

On June 2, 2014, the Center for Competitive Politics filed a complaint with the Senate Select Committee on Ethics, demanding the investigation of nine Democrat senators, as follows:

  1. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI);
  2. Senator Richard Durbin (D- IL);
  3. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY);
  4. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH);
  5. Senator Tom Udal (D-NM);
  6. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI);
  7. Senator Al Franken (D-MN);
  8. Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO); and
  9. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

“…to determine whether any of them violated Senate rules and standards of conduct by improperly interfering with the administrative proceedings of the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) for the purpose of suppressing the First Amendment speech rights of certain nonprofit organizations. As explained below, these Senators appear to have violated Senate rules and norms, and abused the power of their office in an effort to advance their political party’s campaign and electoral objectives between 2010 and 2012.” It appears this scandal goes much deeper than anyone could have imagined, with many of our elected and un-elected officials colluding to suppress the voices of conservative groups leading up to the 2012 elections.

Former IRS official Lois Lerner has been found in contempt of Congress. She gave up her Fifth Amendment rights when she proclaimed her innocence in a statement made in front of Congress before she said she was exercising her right to not incriminate herself afforded under the Fifth Amendment. She has since retired with a healthy pension and benefits package. Congress must push forward and charge Lerner with criminal acts. We need to find out just how extensive this collusion was and with whom and root out every individual involved in this abuse of power. The judgments must be sufficiently harsh so this kind of activity never happens again. All federal workers involved must be fired and prohibited from working for any government agency in the future and charged criminally if evidence suggests conscious wrongdoing. They should be stripped of any earned pension or benefits. Any elected officials should also be forced to leave office and be stripped of any earned pension or benefits and forbidden from any future government employment or activities.

Until people are held to the high standards of the offices in which they serve, and severely punished for violating the public’s trust and abusing the power of their office, this kind of behavior will continue. We have to hold them personally accountable for their actions and make it known that such activities will not be tolerated. The punishment must be harsh enough to make an example of what happens to someone when they violate that trust and abuse their power.

The Internal Revenue Service is charged with overseeing the Affordable Health Care act and making sure everyone is enrolled in an acceptable health care insurance program. The power of the IRS to intimidate and bully citizens is well-known and under the current administration has grown beyond tolerable by the American people.

How are we supposed to trust a government that cannot even deal effectively with its IT problems?

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