While the White House has defended the IRS in its explanation of former IRS official Lois Lerner’s lost emails, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) offered a reminder that IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testified in March 2014 that IRS employee emails had been stored on servers.

In the video, Koskinen testified that his own emails were not all on his computer, but “stored somewhere”.

“I mean, that’s one of the brilliance of the email system, is you go in, you check the set box, the inbox, and you suddenly have all the emails, correct?” Chaffetz asked Koskinen.

“Right, they get taken off and stored in servers,” Koskinen replied. He then declared that Lerner’s emails could be found, although he said he had no idea how much time the search would take when pressed by Chaffetz.

Email exchanges from 2011 show that Lerner’s computer hard drive did crash followed by unsuccessful attempts to recover it and Lerner summarizing, “sometimes stuff just happens.”

Since the IRS revealed the loss of Lerner’s emails, many Republicans, including Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Dave Camp (R-MI), have expressed doubt that Lerner’s emails could be easily destroyed. The IRS explained that there was a limit to how many emails IRS employees could store on servers.

In 2011, the limit was about 1,800 emails and “each employee got to choose which emails to keep and which to archive in the hard drive on their computer,” according to The Hill. Hard copies were supposed to be made of “official documents,” but it is unclear who was responsible for making that determination.

On Monday, incoming White House spokesman Josh Earnest disregarded the increased skepticism from Republicans and the American public over the lost emails. “You’ve never heard of a computer crashing before?” Earnest asked reporters“I think it’s entirely reasonable, because it’s the truth and it’s a fact, and speculation otherwise I think is indicative of the kinds of conspiracies that are propagated around this story.  And they’re propagated in a way that has left people with a very mistaken impression about what exactly occurred,” Earnest said.

Koskinen was subpoenaed to appear before the Oversight Committee on June 23rd.  “Congress passed the Federal Records Act (FRA) to preserve key documents—such as those that were stored on Lerner’s hard drive—for production to congressional investigators and other stakeholders, including historians and FOIA requesters.  The FRA requires agencies to make and preserve records of agency decisions, policies, and essential transactions, and to take steps to safeguard against the loss of agency records,” wrote Issa, who serves as the chairman for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

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Annabelle Bamforth

New Hampshire-based writer Annabelle Bamforth is BenSwann.com's editor-in-chief, focused on breaking the left/right paradigm through new media and local politics. To share a news tip, contact annabelle@truthinmedia.com.

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  • DarthTrader

    Screw all this crap. Congress needs to appoint a special prosecutor or similar with authority to take possession of the pertinent hardware and analyze the hard drives and so forth.

  • hookumsnivy

    There are a few problems here.
    1. Servers are typically backed up frequently
    2. It’s rare that messages are limited by quantity, but rather than total size. Why limit it to X emails when 1/2X could take up 10 times the space?

  • reginamb

    Anyone who knows anything at all about networking will tell you that the emails exist on the SERVER not on her damn computer. Those emails will then get backed up as ‘server information’. EVEN IF they reformatted hard drives from those back-ups, there are ways to recover information. ESPECIALLY if that information is text. This is a cover-up, pure and simple. Any computer geek can tell you that you can’t truly delete information off hard drives. Residual data is always left over. There are people who specialize in retrieving information off destroyed and erased hard drives for a living! They do it for courts all the time!


    Lies, lies, and more lies.

    Impeach Ovomit now!

  • Trey Holcomb

    Special prosecutor NOW!!!

  • A-Train

    not a smidgen of corruption.

  • Jujubmuse

    This such an insult on anyone’s intelligence. It’s a bad lie. A crashed computer would do NOTHING to emails. Another typical lie from the government. We need to stop tolerating these insults.

    • Tannim

      Indeed it wouldn’t. The emails would be backed up on the server as well as preserved in the .pst file, so to lose them means erasing both the local file AND the server backups, which a failure simply won’t do alone. That takes deliberate human intervention.

  • Joe

    I would love to watch this, but a bug in the advertising prevents that. Seriously guys, ads on the side are fine, but embeds in the video are ruining the internet. I won’t be watching this video, because I can’t, because someone wants to slow down the internet by offering me useless shit. This is pathetic website management.

    • Chris

      As a frequent visitor to this site, I’ve only seen one ad over the video that can be closed by clicking the handy little “x” button. Then the video plays, unlike most sites that have a grueling 30-second ad that can’t be skipped.

  • Guest

    Wouldnt it be so awesome of Edward Snowden released all of Lerners emails for the past 10 years?

  • Gregg Braddoch

    Do the technicians at the IRS not know anything about DATA REDUNDANCY and RAID Arrays? Seriously, I work at a tiny company and we have more than one RAID array, for the sake of data redundancy. Further, what office anywhere doesn’t store ALL EMAILS on secure data drives on a server, and not a local computer? What is this, the 1980s? Oh wait… Even then the emails would be on a dedicated server.

  • Heartland Patriot

    As a former sergeant in the USAF, I had to take records keeping training. That training cited Federal law, along with USAF regulations, specifying that official records be kept, and the IT people performed backups regularly so that nothing would be lost, in compliance with those laws and regulations. So, the military services follow the laws, but the IRS doesn’t? I guess some folks are special.

  • Dr. Common Sense

    Wow I truly hope the majority does not believe this bullshit.

  • beadstallcup

    Rep. Jason Chaffetz is about to drill this lying IRS asshole a new one!

  • TheRuleOfLaw

    Hmmm…If I lost all of my tax records and receipts I could get charged with a crime. Federal Law mandates that ALL emails from ALL federal agencies must be stored in their entirety for a minimum of 10 years from the date sent…