Networks Yawn at News IRS Destroyed 24,000 Lois Lerner E-Mails

On Thursday night, the major broadcast networks ignored a new development in the IRS scandal that the agency erased 422 backup tapes and in turn destroyed 24,000 e-mails of embattled former official Lois Lerner. 

With ABC, CBS, and NBC on the sidelines, the Fox News Channel’s Special Report offered a full report on Thursday’s House Oversight Committee hearing concerning the multi-year scandal. Host Bret Baier introduced the segment by informing viewers that there was “new information about thousands more e-mails in the IRS targeting scandal destroyed during the investigation.” 

Reporting from Capitol Hill, correspondent Rich Edson explained that the IRS admitted to having “erased hundreds of backup tapes containing tens of thousands of Lois Lerner e-mails” despite receiving “an order to preserve evidence.”

Edson further explained that this news comes despite assurances from IRS Commissioner John Koskinen:

After promising to provide Congress all of Lerner's e-mails, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen says his agency lost or destroyed two years worth of her electronic correspondence. Koskinen pledged his agency would attempt to recover those lost e-mails. However, the Inspector General says the IRS failed to search several sources for Lerner e-mails, like backup tapes, hard drives and loaner laptops, sources that he says ultimately produced previously undisclosed e-mails.

Later, Edson noted that an Inspector General with the Treasury Department has been investigating the matter and will issue “his preliminary report next week, though he says he may have to issue a supplemental report on his investigation depending on what additional facts emerge.”

In a scathing editorial early Thursday evening, Investor’s Business Daily demanded that “someone should pay” for what’s transpired:

The IRS cannot be considered a cooperative partner in the process. And this week's admission under oath from the Treasury inspector general for tax administration that as many as 24,000 Lerner emails have been erased looks to be just more IRS stonewalling.

It is precisely that history of intransigence that makes the disappearance of those emails look more like a desperate act to evade justice than the simple human accident it's being characterized as.

There is precedent. The IRS told Congress last year that an unknown number of Lerner's emails had been lost when her computer hard drive crashed in 2011.

Misplacing and destroying emails is a recurring habit practiced by what can be legitimately called a rogue agency that's tried to obstruct a proper congressional investigation.

(....)

Someone should pay, and dearly, for what the IRS did to conservative groups and for its apparent subversion of our election. Its actions were intentional and instrumental in Obama's re-election.

Using government power to rig elections is an offense that should not go unpunished.

The relevant portions of the transcript from FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier on June 25 can be found below.

FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier
June 25, 2015
6:06 p.m. Eastern

BRET BAIER: First, to Capitol Hill and new information about thousands more e-mails in the IRS targeting scandal destroyed during the investigation. Thousands of e-mails vanished. Here's correspondent Rich Edson. 

RICH EDSON: After an order to preserve evidence, the Internal Revenue Service says it erased hundreds of backup tapes containing tens of thousands of Lois Lerner e-mails. 

HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN JASON CHAFFETZ (R-Utah): They destroyed evidence. That’s what we did and that’s we continue to have this. We haven't even gotten into the content of the e-mails. We're just trying to get them, so we can actually read them and figure out what was going on. 

EDSON: Testifying before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration's office says there are still up to 24,000 unrecovered Lerner e-mails. 

INVESTIGATIONS DEPUTY INSPECTOR GENERAL TIMOTHY CAMUS: The erasure was done by IRS employees in Martinsburg, West Virginia. Our investigation found no evidence to prove that the erasure of the 422 tapes was done in an effort to purposely destroy evidence. 

EDSON: Lerner was the director of the IRS's exempt organization office. It decides which organizations meet the criteria for a tax-empt status. That office says, for two years, it delayed applications for conservative and tea party organizations. After promising to provide Congress all of Lerner's e-mails, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen says his agency lost or destroyed two years worth of her electronic correspondence. Koskinen pledged his agency ,,would attempt to recover those lost e-mails. However, the Inspector General says the IRS failed to search several sources for Lerner e-mails, like backup tapes, hard drives and loaner laptops, sources that he says ultimately produced previously undisclosed e-mails.

(....)

EDSON: Revealing few details on his findings, a Treasury Inspector General says he's going to offer his preliminary report next week, though he says he may have to issue a supplemental report on his investigation depending on what additional facts emerge.

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