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Lawmakers: IRS lost more emails in tea party probe



By Stephen Ohlemacher

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Internal Revenue Service has lost more emails connected to the tea party investigation, congressional investigators said Tuesday.

The IRS said last Friday it had lost an untold number of emails when Lois Lerner's computer crashed in 2011. Lerner used to head the division that handles applications for tax-exempt status.

On Tuesday, two key lawmakers said the IRS has also lost emails from six additional IRS workers whose computers crashed. Among them was Nikole Flax, who was chief of staff to Lerner's boss, then-deputy commissioner Steven Miller.

Miller later became acting IRS commissioner, but was forced to resign last year after the agency acknowledged that agents had improperly scrutinized tea party and other conservative groups when they applied for tax-exempt status. Documents have shown some liberal groups were also flagged.

Investigators from the House Ways and Means Committee interviewed IRS technicians Monday. The technicians said they first realized that Lerner's emails were lost in February or March - months before they informed congressional investigators, said a statement by two top Republicans on the Ways and Means Committee, chairman Dave Camp of Michigan and subcommittee chairman Charles Boustany of Louisiana.

The two lawmakers called on the Justice Department to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS, something Attorney General Eric Holder has declined to do in the past.

"It looks like the American people were lied to and the IRS tried to cover up the fact it conveniently lost key documents in this investigation," said the statement by Camp and Boustany. "The White House promised full cooperation, the commissioner promised full access to Lois Lerner emails and now the agency claims it cannot produce those materials and they've known for months they couldn't do this."

The IRS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen is scheduled to testify before the Ways and Means Committee next Tuesday. The House Oversight Committee has subpoenaed Koskinen to testify at a rare evening hearing on Monday.

The two House committees and the Senate Finance Committee are investigating the IRS over its handling of tea party applications from 2010 to 2012. The Justice Department and the IRS inspector general are also investigating.

Congressional investigators have shown that IRS officials in Washington were closely involved in the handling of tea party applications, many of which languished for more than a year without action. But so far, they have not publicly produced evidence that anyone outside the agency directed the targeting or even knew about it.

If anyone outside the agency was involved, investigators were hoping for clues in Lerner's emails.

Lerner's computer crashed in the summer of 2011, depriving investigators of many of her prior emails. Flax's computer crashed in December 2011, Camp and Boustany said.

The IRS said Friday that technicians went to great lengths trying to recover data from Lerner's computer in 2011. In emails provided by the IRS, technicians said they sent the computer to a forensic lab run by the agency's criminal investigations unit. But to no avail.

The IRS was able to generate 24,000 Lerner emails from the 2009 to 2011 period because Lerner had copied in other IRS employees. Overall, the IRS said it is producing a total of 67,000 emails to and from Lerner, covering the period from 2009 to 2013.

The IRS said Friday that more than 250 IRS employees have been working to assist congressional investigations, spending nearly $10 million to produce more than 750,000 documents.

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Lesley June 17 2014 at 4:13 PM

who believes they "LOST" the emails? They were conveniently misplaced in the trash or shreded. Come on people ... more lies, more cover up, more corruption. When are we going to stop this???

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23 replies
and.then.what June 17 2014 at 4:26 PM

Every IT guy on half the continent laughed and rolled their eyes on that lie.
"Lost" --- the word is hid ---
President Nixon "lost" 18 minutes of voice recordings and also used the IRS as Obama did.
The result was impeachment........
Barack Hussein Obama's IRS 'tried' to recover those 2 years of 'lost' emails but failed.!
No one believes that, not for a minute...
Barack Hussein Obama is the most corrupt President in America's 237-year history.
AND by far the worst / most inept President in world history...!
But don't take my word for it,
Ask China, Russia, Syria, Iran and most any country that used to respect our country...

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48 replies
Meh... June 17 2014 at 4:22 PM

Time to get rid of the IRS.

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33 replies
sboore47 June 17 2014 at 4:13 PM

They are either very stupid or very smart. I go for the latter because they know that the messages will make this administration look very bad. But they are stupid if they think that a good IT person cannot retrieve these massages.

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16 replies
donrahilly June 17 2014 at 4:13 PM

Lerner should go to jail. If Obama directed this travesty then he should go to jail also. Abuse of power. High Crimes and misdemeanors.

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19 replies
jfusco316 June 17 2014 at 4:14 PM

Nothing but lairs. Just like this administration.

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15 replies
lightninbob1 June 17 2014 at 4:15 PM

Just another glowing example of the Obama legacy. Most prodigious liar in the history of the nation.

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25 replies
donrahilly June 17 2014 at 4:15 PM

The noses just keep getting longer.

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3 replies
Robert June 17 2014 at 4:13 PM

How convienient

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3 replies
morphiss7 June 17 2014 at 4:12 PM

Where the h--l is congress !!!!!!!!!!!

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46 replies
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