Tag Archives: irs scandal

Group That Sued IRS For Targeting Claims It Has Not Been Interviewed By FBI

True The Vote, a conservative vote-monitoring organization that sued the IRS last year for unfairly delaying their application for tax-exempt status, has revealed that neither the FBI or Department of Justice has interviewed the group, refuting what Attorney General Eric Holder had asserted to ABC News over this past weekend.

Catherine Engelbrecht, president of True The Vote, was interviewed on the Washington, DC radio station WMAL by Larry O’Connor to discuss the lawsuit. O’Connor asked Engelbrecht about Eric Holder’s recent dismissal of needing a special prosecutor for the IRS scandal, declaring that the Justice Department and FBI are doing a “doing a good, professional job” in their investigation.

“You have been at the center of this IRS scandal, I think many would say your group was specifically targeted, and over the weekend Attorney General Eric Holder was asked about the IRS scandal and the calls for an independent investigation. And he said ‘no need for it, because the professionals at the Department of Justice and the FBI are doing a great job investigating this’,” said O’Connor.

“What has your experience been with the Department of Justice and the FBI in this? Have they talked to you quite a bit? Has there been extensive investigation?” O’Connor asked Engelbrecht

Engelbrecht responded, “Yeah, that would be exactly no. Zero. No time have they approached us. Only when they are investigating us, only when they are being adversarial towards us do we ever hear anything from the Department of Justice.”

“The attorney general says the FBI and the career attorneys at the Department Of Justice are doing a great job investigating this. And they haven’t talked to you at all yet? After over a year?” O’Connor asked.

“No,” said Engelbrecht.

Speaking at a lawsuit hearing last Friday between True The Vote and the IRS, District Judge Reggie B. Walton ordered the IRS to provide information about former IRS official Lois Lerner’s destroyed hard drive. Walton’s order came one day after District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ordered the IRS to explain how it lost thousands of emails in a separate hearing from a lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch.

Federal Judge Orders IRS Explanation Of Lost Lerner Emails

Following the release of an email from former IRS official Lois Lerner warning that “we need to be cautious about what we say in emails” and asking if the IRS chat system could be searched, a federal judge ordered the IRS to explain how it lost countless other emails to and from Lerner.

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan has given the IRS a month to provide an explanation: “I’m going to hold tight to that Aug. 10 declaration.” What explanation could be offered at this time is anyone’s guess.

Judge Andrew Napolitano appeared on Fox News with Neil Cavuto to talk about Sullivan’s order.

“It’s getting interesting, because while Congress is attempting to get information from Lois Lerner and her colleagues at the IRS about the so-called ‘missing’ and ‘crashed’ emails, two federal judges are doing so as well. And they have tools that the Congress doesn’t have,” said Napolitano.

“They have the ability to lock people up when they mislead, lie, lie to the court, or disobey orders. Just this afternoon, a federal judge by the name of Emmet Sullivan- in a case filed by Judicial Watch, those wonderful, ethical watchdogs in DC that keep the government’s feet to the fire, said to the IRS ‘you’ve got 30 days. I want certifications under oath. And every time you have a conversation about emails you can’t find, it’s going to be in the presence of another federal judge, and he is going to scrutinize everything you say’.”

On Wednesday, emails released by House Oversight Republicans revealed one potentially incriminating email in particular, in which Lerner wrote to another IRS employee:

“I had a question today about OCS [Microsoft Office Communications Server, the internal chat system used by the IRS] . I was cautioning folks about email and how we have had several occasions where Congress has asked for emails and there has been an electronic search for responsive emails—so we need to be cautious about what we say in emails. Someone asked if OCS conversations were also searchable—I don’t know, but told them I would get back to them. Do you know?”

“OCS messages are not set to automatically save as the standard; however the functionality exists within the software. That being said the parties involved in an OCS conversation can copy and save the contents of the conversation to an email or file,” replied IRS technology employee Maria Hooke. “‘My general recommendation is to treat the conversation as if it could/is being save somewhere, as it is possible for either party of the conversation to retain the information and have it turn up as part of the electronic search. Make sense?”

“Perfect,” wrote Lerner in response.

These emails were sent April 9, 2013 between Lerner, Hooke, and IRS Director for Exempt Organizations Exam Unit Manager Nanette Downing, and has fueled suspicion that Lerner has something to hide. On Thursday, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) called this email exchange a “smoking gun”.

“This is Lois Lerner clearly cautioning people not to say things on email and be delighted to find out that the local instant chat they have, this Microsoft product, wasn’t tracking what they said,” said Issa.

“It’s very clear that on April 9, 2013, well into this investigation, she’s still on the job and she’s still covering her tracks and considering, if you will, whether they are covered,” he added.

Also on Thursday, Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX), the same Congressman and vocal critic of Lerner and the IRS who asked the NSA to turn over Lerner’s missing emails and introduced “The Dog Ate My Tax Receipts Act,” has filed a motion to push the Congressional police to arrest Lerner for contempt of Congress.

Political commentator Charles Krauthammer called Stockman’s motion “almost as idiotic as impeachment”. “You don’t want stunts like the Sergeant of Arms of Congress arresting Lois Lerner for God’s sake,” said Krauthammer. “But what you do is you trust the courts because the Democrats, the administration and the IRS are going to have to respect what a judge does.”

Testimony From IRS Commissioner Claimed Lerner’s Emails Were Archived

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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Congressman Asks NSA To Turn Over Lois Lerner’s Metadata After IRS Loses Her Emails

One month after Congress held former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt for refusing to testify about her involvement in targeting conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, the IRS told Congress Friday that it lost over two years’ worth of crucial emails between Lerner and various federal agencies.

The agency claimed that the emails were lost because Lerner’s computer crashed in 2011.

“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 House Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI). “There needs to be an immediate investigation and forensic audit by Department of Justice as well as the inspector general.”

In a press release, Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) asked  NSA director Michael Rogers to release Lerner’s metadata, saying

 “the metadata will establish who Lerner contacted and when, which helps investigators determine the extent of illegal activity by the IRS.” 

In his email to Rogers, Stockman wrote:

I am writing to request the Agency produce all metadata it has collected on all of Ms. Lerner’s email accounts for the period between January 2009 and April 2011. The data may be transmitted to our Communications Director at Donny@mail.house.gov. Your prompt cooperation in this matter will be greatly appreciated and will help establish how IRS and other personnel violated rights protected by the First Amendment.

The IRS said it was able to gather 24,000 of Lerner’s emails that had been copied to other IRS employees. However, the vital missing emails are communications that were sent to agencies outside of the IRS, including “the White House, Treasury, Department of Justice, FEC, or Democrat offices,” according to Camp’s office.

House Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa(R-CA) implied that the Obama administration has been deceptive in this sudden revelation of missing emails. “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?” Issa wrote in an email statement.

“The IRS has remained focused on being thorough and responding as quickly as possible to the wide-ranging requests from Congress while taking steps to protect underlying taxpayer information,” read an IRS statement.

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Obama: The IRS Scandal Was A Lie Made Up By The Media

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Earlier this year, it was revealed that the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had specifically targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status. In the process of trying to obtain 501(c)(4) status, a large number of Tea Party groups received lengthy delays and excessive questioning from the IRS.

Most of the targeted conservative groups had the words “Tea Party” in their names.

Lois Lerner, director of tax exempt organizations for the IRS, even admitted that such targeting had happened. Lerner said, “They did pick the cases by names and that’s absolutely inappropriate and not the way we should do things.”

Despite this admission, President Obama denied that the IRS scandal ever happened this Thursday during his interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. The President insisted that the “scandal” was merely nonsense created by the media.

He said:

“If on the other hand, you’ve got an office in Cincinnati, an IRS office, that I think for bureaucratic reasons, is trying to streamline a difficult law to begin with, and interpret whether a non-profit is a political organization, deserves a tax exempt agency, and they’ve got a list. Suddenly, everyone’s outraged… And, I’ll point out that there are some so-called progressives and perceived to be liberal commentators during that week that were just outraged at the possibility that these folks had in some way been discriminated against. And, that is what gets news.”

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