Have lost IRS emails been recovered by a federal investigative team this week? Although it was stated that a massive number of Lois Lerner’s personal and professional emails had become unrecoverable, Fox News reported this Saturday, November 22, 2014, that a potential 30,000 messages might have been retrieved. In light of this latest update to the ongoing IRS scandal, the move appears to have drawn conservative ire, with one attorney saying nothing “surprises” her anymore.
Less than half a year after the Internal Revenue Service announced IRS emails sent to and from Lois Lerner — a former IRS official — were ultimately lost, the public is now hearing that may not have been the case. The inspector general for the U.S. Treasury Department confirmed this weekend that up to 30,000 previously missing emails have been potentially reclaimed. The above source notes that many conservatives were visibly frustrated as a result.
“Nothing they do surprises me,” Washington attorney Cleta Mitchell shared in a statement to Newsmax on this most recent “attack” on the tea party scandal. “Nothing they fail to do surprises me … I have no reason to think that this is everything. Now, what I would like to see them do is for the IRS to actually respond to all the subpoenas that have been issued to them by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in the last year and a half … That would be the best thing they could do: just go ahead and answer all the subpoenas and do what you’re supposed to do.”
It appears that a massive recovery of lost information and “misplaced” data might have been retrieved — including the highly sought IRS emails connected with Lois Lerner’s account. Democrat Ron Wyden and Republcian Orrin Hatch, who both serve as Senate Finance Committee boards, shared in an address two days ago that an investigative team under the Inspector General for the Treasury and Tax Administration had retrieved new forensic records.
“[Under the supervision of the Inspector General, the U.S. Treasury] has been able to recover some forensic data which may include documents the IRS believed were missing,” they stated. “This data may include emails to and/or from Lois Lerner which could be material to the investigation.”
According to News Max, it is speculated that some of these recovered files may contain important information to the alleged IRS scandal —which has subsequently drawn ire from national conservative and tea party groups. One Republican congressional aid added that the data retrieval may include a potential 30,000 formerly “lost” Lois Lerner emails, falling between early 2009 and mid-2011. However, whether these records are readable remains to be seen.
Apparently, these unearthed IRS emails were not found alone. Literally hundreds of tapes intended for “disaster recovery” and backup of the email accounts for the Internal Revenue System were part of the discovery. In addition to key files and documents, the tapes are said to hold literally millions of emails. The recovery process is a slow one, however, and takes both time and energy to do so.
“They just said it took them several weeks and some forensic effort to get these emails off these tapes,” the aide told the newspaper. More electronic messages, including possible ones from Lois Lerner, are still being extracted.
Following the IRS scandal and ongoing allegations, Lois Lerner retired from her leadership position back in 2013. She was an official for the applications division that examined tax-exempt status for various political and national groups. Although she was summoned to Congress to testify over the ordeal, Lerner was temporarily held in contempt of court for opting not to speak at the time.
The Internal Revenue Service alleged to the U.S. Congress more recently this year that a considerable number of Lerner’s emails had been lost after her computer mysteriously crashed. Some viewed this as only a deeper hole in the IRS scandal, while Commissioner John Koskinen declared that less than 25,000 emails were recoverable due to Lerner managing to copy those particular digital records from fellow employees. Now, 30,000 may be added to the mix, drawing further conservative ire.
The report concludes by mentioning the onset of the unlawful targeting allegations involving the IRS first coming to light in early 2013. The inspector general reportedly found the governmental agency was wrongfully investigating political applications trying to file for tax-exempt status. These groups included certain religious and conservative organizations, including True the Vote and the national Tea Party. Now, Wyden and Hatch are investigating the recently recovered information to verify whether a decipherable format can be addressed.
“From the onset of our bipartisan investigation, we’ve remained committed to getting to the truth and ensuring that the IRS treats all tax-exempt applicants fairly,” said the Senate Finance Committee officials. “Though we are in the final stages of finishing our bipartisan report,” they added, the inspector general “has yet to release its findings regarding the lost Lois Lerner e-mails at the IRS.”