Subpoena issued for IRS commissioner to testify about missing emails

The IRS said on Friday that email correspondences between former IRS official Lois Lerner and outside agencies were lost as legislators continue to investigate the IRS’s alleged targeting of political groups.

IRS officials told the House Ways and Means Committee that a computer crash wiped out all email correspondences Lerner sent to and received from external agencies and groups from January 2009 to April 2011.

“The fact that I am just learning about this, over a year into the investigation, is completely unacceptable and now calls into question the credibility of the IRS’s response to congressional inquiries,” Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said. “There needs to be an immediate investigation and forensic audit by Department of Justice as well as the inspector general.”

Camp said the documents would have allowed the committee to determine whether Lerner acted alone in targeting conservative groups, and he called for the White House to conduct an administration-wide search for the missing emails.

House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.) said the Obama administration “repeatedly” said that committee members would get access to all relevant IRS documents and failed to achieve the transparency it promised.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) issued a subpoena for IRS Commissioner John Koskinen to testify before the committee about the lost e-mails.

“Congress passed the Federal Records Act (FRA) to preserve key documents – such as those that were stored on Lerner’s hard drive – for production to congressional investigators and other stakeholders, including historians and (Freedom of Information Act) requesters,” Issa said. “The FRA requires agencies to make and preserve records of agency decisions, policies and essential transactions, and to take steps to safeguard against the loss of agency records.”

Issa said he would not tolerate “obstruction and game playing” in response to the committee’s investigation.