A U.S. government lawyer has conceded that tens of thousands of long-missing emails belonging to former IRS official Lois Lerner – messages the Obama administration has claimed were lost in a 2011 computer crash – were safely backed up along with the computer records of every other federal employee.
The documents are key to a congressional investigation into a political targeting scheme Lerner allegedly masterminded, which involved singling out conservative nonprofits for especially intrusive scrutiny – based on words in their names like 'tea party' or 'patriots' – when they applied for tax-exempt charitable status.
Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton, whose group is suing the IRS over its failure to provide the records to Congress, said Monday that the revelation came on Friday from an attorney who works in Attorney General Eric Holder's Justice Department.
'All the focus on missing hard drives has been a diversion,' he said. 'The Obama administration has known all along where the email records could be – but dishonestly withheld this information. You can bet we are going to ask the court for immediate assistance in cutting through this massive obstruction of justice.'