The saga of Lois Lerner’s supposedly defective hard drive has become a mini-scandal unto itself, as the implausible excuses offered for the refusal to hand over subpoenaed electronic documents twist into ever more fantastic configurations. Even if one was inclined to take the IRS’ excuses on faith, the degree of breezy contempt they showed toward federal record-keeping laws – in a matter they knew was erupting into hot-lava controversy – would be astonishing. The idea that this should all end with nothing more than a quiet admonition to do better next time is ridiculous.
The House Ways and Means Committee introduces us to the scratch deejays of the IRS, who laid down a mean groove upon the Tax Exempt Organizations Director’s magnetized platters:
Despite early refusals to make available IT professionals who worked on Lois Lerner’s computer, Ways and Means Committee investigators have now learned from interviews that the hard drive of former IRS Exempt Organizations Director Lois Lerner was “scratched,” but data was recoverable. In fact, in-house professionals at the IRS recommended the Agency seek outside assistance in recovering the data. That information conflicts with a July 18, 2014 court filing by the Agency, which stated the data on the hard drive was unrecoverable – including multiple years’ worth of missing emails.
“It is unbelievable that we cannot get a simple, straight answer from the IRS about this hard drive,” said Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI). “The Committee was told no data was recoverable and the physical drive was recycled and potentially shredded. To now learn that the hard drive was only scratched, yet the IRS refused to utilize outside experts to recover the data, raises more questions about potential criminal wrong doing at the IRS.”