IRS Finds 30,000 Lois Lerner Emails, Enraging ConservativesBy Todd Beamon / NEWSMAX
Five months after the Internal Revenue Service deemed that emails sent by former official Lois Lerner had been lost forever, the Treasury Department's inspector general told Congress on Friday that as many as 30,000 might have been found — and conservatives were outraged.
"Nothing they do surprises me," Washington attorney Cleta Mitchell told Newsmax of the latest development in the agency's targeting scandal of tea party groups. "Nothing they fail to do surprises me.
"I have no reason to think that this is everything," she added. "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," Mitchell said.
Two top members of the Senate Finance Committee, Democratic Chairman Ron Wyden of Oregon and ranking Republican Orrin Hatch of Utah, said on Friday that the Treasury's Inspector General for Tax Administration told them that it had had located data that might have included the Lerner emails.
A Republican congressional aide told The Washington Examiner that the recovered data included as many as 30,000 emails that Lerner sent or received between 2009 and 2011.
The emails were found among hundreds of "disaster recovery tapes" used to back up the IRS' email system, according to the Examiner. The tapes contain at least 250 million emails.
"They just said it took them several weeks and some forensic effort to get these emails off these tapes," the aide told the newspaper.
Lerner, who retired in September 2013 because of the scandal, headed the IRS division that processed applications for tax-exempt status from the groups. She was held in contempt for refusing to testify before Congress about the debacle.
In June, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testified to Congress that the agency could not locate many of Lerner's emails prior to 2011 because her computer had crashed that summer. They probably were lost for good because the disaster recovery tapes store data for only six months, he said.
Koskinen testified that they could only find 24,000 Lerner emails from 2009 to 2011 because Lerner had copied in other IRS employees. The agency had pieced together those emails from the computers of 83 other workers, he said.
Emails of others Lerner supervised during that period also were lost, Koskinen said — and in a July federal court deposition, the IRS said that Lerner's hard drive was destroyed and recycled three years ago.
That ended any chance of retrieving the lost emails, officials said.