Issa Subpoenas Lois Lerner’s “Crashed” Hard Drive

This whole thing with the “lost” emails is looking less like expected government incompetence and more like a conspiracy to cover up malfeasance. The IRS “lost” the email records of 6 other employees involved in the IRS scandal. Imagine what would happen if the IRS came calling for your tax records and you said you “lost” them. They even have a handy dandy list as to the time small businesses and the self employed should keep records, and lists for other filers. Sarbanes-Oxley requires businesses to keep records, which includes emails, for 5 years, and companies can be fined and/or jailed for up to 20 years for intentionally deleting and/or fraud handling those emails. Over to Darrell Issa

(Roll Call) The House is consumed this week with the upcoming GOP leadership elections in the wake of Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary defeat, but Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa doesn’t want that reality to take the pressure off the IRS.

The California Republican is plowing ahead with his panel’s year-long investigation into alleged misconduct at the IRS in its targeting of certain conservative outside groups applying for tax-exempt status.

In the midst of push-back from Democrats who say the investigation has become a partisan witch hunt, Issa has been emboldened by new revelations that key emails of ex-IRS official Lois Lerner have gone missing. While the agency says the IRS emails were lost in a computer crash, Issa and other Republicans say that excuse sounds too convenient, given that Lerner has been a main target in the House GOP’s probe. Congress went so far as to recently hold her in contempt for refusing to testify on her role in the controversy.

So on Tuesday afternoon, Issa announced that his committee had handed IRS Commissioner John Koskinen a subpoena for documents “related to the recent revelation that the IRS supposedly ‘lost’ former IRS official Lois Lerner’s emails for a two year period, January 2009 to April 2011.”

The subpoena also covers Lerner’s hard drive, electronic devices and documents “connected to the IRS’s response to Congress.”

Anyone who expects the IRS to stonewall on delivering the hard drive, raise your hand. So, basically the result of the hand raising is the same as if I asked “who wants ice cream?” Issa should also consider subpoenaing for access to the servers/hard drives that the emails are stored on. Interestingly, Republicans are saying that the IRS knew back in February that there was a problem in providing the documents.

As a sidebar, the House is attempting to obtain enough cosponsors to bring the Email Privacy Act to the floor for a vote, which would require law enforcement to have a warrant to look at our personal email that has been stored for over 180 days. GOP leadership has been reluctant, otherwise. Yet, this is not just a Republican leadership issue: a similar bill has been stuck in the Senate, run by Democrat Harry Reid, since last year. The House bill has 218 cosponsors, 136 Republicans and 82 Democrats. Govtrack only gives it a 28% chance of passing. That’s sad. This is your Congress at work.

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5 Responses to “Issa Subpoenas Lois Lerner’s “Crashed” Hard Drive”

  1. bob sykes says:

    Depending on the extent of damage, information can be retrieved from crashed hard drives, sometime nearly everything.

    Issa should subpoena the other six crashed drives as well.

    It shouldn’t cost more than $1500 per drive to recover data.

  2. John says:

    Lois Lerner was appointed to her IRS position by the former POTUS
    Her husband a lawyer works for a firm that makes large donations to the GOP

  3. Better_Be_Gumballs says:

    The user’s crashed hard drives during that time might still contain information unless those sectors have been overwritten during the last number of years.

    However, the focus should be on the agency’s email servers. That is where the email resides. not on the user’s hard drives. I’m betting that they are using Microsoft Exchange for email. That system uses a “Journal” to record all emails flowing through the system. That is where the emails will be.

    And… the Email Privacy Act:

    The proposal would update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which allows law enforcement agencies to access electronic communications that have been stored for 180 days without a warrant.

    thus it would extend protections that current emails have to emails older than 180 days as well.

  4. The Neon Madman says:

    Color me cynical, but the way that this is playing we aren’t ever going to see those files – from the IRS or anywhere else. It’s already been too long – if action isn’t taken fast, some very covert scrubbing is going to go on – if it hasn’t already.

    The GOP makes me despair. They should be all over this. The IRS tech staff should be in front of the committee NOW, testifying under oath, along with the senior management. The committee should be subpoenaing email server files from the White House and Lerner’s personal ISP. This should be all over the airwaves, whether it’s played as a Republican witch hunt (probablY0 or as straight news (yeah, right) – instead, I don’t think I’ve heard two mentions of it other than on the net. The American public has granola for brains and the attention span of a 6-year old kid – in two weeks this will be ancient history.

  5. Better_Be_Gumballs says:

    Give it another 2 years for subpoenas to occur. And then questions can be asked. Then, if the are still employed, then they can be brought to the committee for official questions. Then their leaders can be subpoenaed and asked questions. Then they can be brought to the committee for official questions. THen, when 8-10 years have passed, and if the people are still employed, there can be votes taken to have Congress issue a vote of no confidence. Then after a few more elections, and if the people are still employed, Congress can push\ask to have them fired. They can then live out their days on a great gov’t retirement.

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