The IRS’s ‘Lost’ Email Deception
By Matthew Vadum
Emails from disgraced former IRS tax-exempt division chief Lois Lerner that could throw light on the Obama administration’s thuggish crackdown on conservative nonprofit groups have been sucked into an electronic black hole, IRS officials now claim.
It is the latest outrage from the Obama administration which has been on a vindictive rampage in recent years, using the feared tax collection agency to vex and persecute its political enemies, especially those associated with the Tea Party movement.
Under hyper-partisan, left-wing Democrat Lois Lerner, the tax-exempt organizations branch singled out for harassment the heroic Catherine Engelbrecht, leader of the Houston-based good government group True the Vote. Earlier this year the IRS revoked the charitable status of Manassas, Va.-based Patrick Henry Center for Individual Liberty, a conservative nonprofit group, because it disseminated old statements critical of Democrats Hillary Clinton and John Kerry a decade ago.
Although President Obama claimed earlier this year that there has not been even “a smidgen of corruption” at the IRS under his watch, it is clear that “the dog ate my homework,” is becoming the excuse of choice for his lawless administration.
But in March the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee published an in-depth report detailing IRS targeting of right-of-center 501c4 nonprofit advocacy groups during the 2010 and 2012 election cycles. (The full report is available in PDF form at the committee’s website.) Congressional investigators determined that Lerner orchestrated an unprecedented crackdown on Tea Party and conservative groups and then attempted to scapegoat those nonprofits, blaming them for the harsh treatment they received at her instigation.
As political pressure builds on Capitol Hill, it can finally be revealed that a mysterious, politically progressive electromagnetic pulse may have hit the hard drives of Lerner and six of her IRS underlings. Obama officials now claim the emails of all seven government employees to outside organizations and agencies including the White House have been consigned to oblivion.
As a result of this devastating “attack” the IRS is suddenly claiming it no longer possesses tens of thousands of emails from Lerner and her subordinates, a year after congressional investigators demanded the likely incriminating electronic communications. For the first time IRS officials say that Lerner’s computer “crashed” in 2011 at the same time the tax-collection Leviathan was devising rules calculated to hurt nonprofit groups with words such as “Tea Party” or “Patriots” in their names.
The IRS, as Carl M. Cannon writes at RealClearPolitics,
also lacked a centralized archive, it says now, and employed an archaic practice of re-using the tapes backing up its system every six months — thereby erasing the material already there. Who knew the IRS was so frugal? In a similar vein, IRS employees had absurdly low limits for how many emails they could store. And the agency apparently allowed IRS employees to decide for themselves which emails constituted an official record, which they are required by law to retain.
It beggars belief that so many emails could vanish into the ether, somehow evading the multiple-redundant backups and system safeguards that are supposed to be in place.
“The Obama administration’s claim that the IRS has ‘lost’ two years of Lois Lerner’s emails is implausible to anyone who understands how email systems work,” according to John Hinderaker, a Claremont Institute fellow. “The Obama administration is lying, and lying in a remarkably transparent way.”
“Nothing digital ever dies,” so the emails must still exist somewhere in cyberspace, Cannon opines. They must be retained on offsite email servers, in files kept by other IRS officials, and in the email accounts and servers of recipients employed by other organizations or agencies.
“This is almost certainly true if they were sent to White House officials,” he writes. “It should be true, anyway: the President[ial] Records Act requires their preservation.”
Meanwhile, as the chattering classes argue over whether the disappearance of so many IRS emails is even technologically possible or about who should go to prison, the fact remains that President Obama is ultimately responsible for the politically motivated assault on conservative nonprofits, whether he knew of the IRS misdeeds or not.
Democrats correctly view Tea Party groups, that is, right-wing populist groups, as an existential threat to the Left. These nonprofits tend to be Republican-leaning organizations and they have been successful so far in derailing, or at least slowing, parts of President Obama’s ongoing transmogrification of America.
Democrats don’t want any conservative nonprofits to enjoy tax-exempt status. Such nonprofits are all working against the Left, standing in the way and preventing America from becoming a leftist utopia. Using the IRS to hurt right-of-center groups is fair game, according to left-wingers.
The media is onboard with Democrats. The evening newscasts of the big three broadcasts last night all deemed the seven-way IRS computer crash unworthy of coverage “even as they had time for Harrison Ford’s broken leg (NBC), a new technology for police car chases (ABC), and comedian Tracy Morgan’s car accident (CBS).”
Just another day in Obama’s America.