The IRS and the Case of the Crashing Computer

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Whether they’re guilty of crimes or not, the IRS is the guiltiest looking bunch of government bureaucrats in history.

In a Nixonian turn of events, officials at the Internal Revenue Service are claiming[1] that emails central to the probe into former IRS official Lois Lerner’s involvement in targeting conservative groups, were lost in a computer crash. They claim that emails spanning back more than two years are no longer retrievable. It’s a convenient excuse, and we’re not buying it.

Lerner has already been held in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify about her role in the systematic targeting of conservative political organizations. No one thinks she’s innocent, but repeated attempts to get answers about what she knew and when have gone unheeded.

According to the IRS, Lerner’s computer crashed in mid-2011, making it impossible to produce emails from January 2009 to April 2011 – a key time period for determining how the IRS implemented its political abuse.

The “case of the crashing computer” is just the latest mystery investigators have run into in the long-running search for the truth at the IRS. It started when Lerner planted a question at a speech to the American Bar Association to quietly admit to the targeting. It evolved when Lerner retired her position at the IRS and went to a hearing on the Hill only to declare innocence and plead the Fifth.

Promises of cooperation from the administration appear empty. Now, thousands of emails over more than two years are not only suddenly missing, but that revelation is just now being brought to light.

It makes you wonder. It’s definitely made Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa wonder.

“Isn’t it convenient for the Obama Administration that the IRS now says it has suddenly realized it lost Lois Lerner’s emails requested by Congress and promised by Commissioner John Koskinen?” said Issa in a statement. “Do they really expect the American people to believe that, after having withheld these emails for a year, they’re just now realizing the most critical time period is missing?”

We agree with Issa; it does seem a little too convenient. In fact, it seems closer to a Nixon-era excuse than anything else, only back then it was 18 minutes of audio tape being accidentally erased – not two years-worth of emails. Maybe we should get Nancy Drew on the case. The IRS’ excuse sounds like fiction to our ears.