The Obama Administration’s investigatory credibility, like Lois Lerner’s emails, has been irrevocably “lost.”
Last week, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) made the unbelievable assertion that it “lost” an untold number of emails of former top IRS official Lois Lerner.
For years, the IRS repeatedly and unlawfully demanded emails from our clients at the American Center for Law and Justice, which represents 41 targeted conservative groups from 22 states in a lawsuit against the IRS, but now can’t produce its own emails for Congress.
As absurd as this sounds, the IRS claims that a singular computer crash makes it impossible to turn over all emails to and from Ms. Lerner during the two-year period at the height of the IRS targeting scandal, which involved outside agencies such as the White House, federal agencies and Democratic members of Congress.
We know that Ms. Lerner was fond of contacting her old colleagues at the Federal Election Commission, was in communication with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI about criminally prosecuting the very targets of the IRS scandal, and surreptitiously sent official IRS emails to her private email account. In fact, it was recently revealed that Ms. Lerner sent 1.1 million documents containing confidential, legally protected taxpayer information (a violation of law) to the FBI and Justice Department.
What we don’t know and is critical to discovering the truth about the targeting is contained in those “lost” emails from 2009 to 2011.
How could an agency based on maintaining the financial tax records for every American not be able to maintain its own records? It’s beyond comprehension, and it’s another stonewalling tactic designed to further hide the truth.
In addition to “losing” Ms. Lerner’s emails, the IRS also now claims to be unable to produce emails from six other IRS officials, including Nikole Flax, then the chief of staff for the acting IRS commissioner. It was Ms. Flax who, when Ms. Lerner was in contact with the Obama DOJ to “piece together” criminal prosecutions against tax-exempt “applicants” (like those conservative applicants the IRS was already targeting), said, “I think we should do it . Also, we need to reach out to [the Federal Election Commission].” Yet now her emails are mysteriously gone, too.
The problem is not just “lost” emails — it’s the intentional deception of the Obama administration. When IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testified before Congress in March, he, under oath, told Congress that Ms. Lerner’s emails were “stored in servers” and affirmatively swore that “we can find Lois Lerner’s emails.”
In its letter to Congress last week, though, the IRS stated that it “completed” gathering Ms. Lerner’s emails on May 22, 2013, just days after the scandal broke; the IRS clearly knew about the computer crash when it happened in 2011; and IRS technicians said they knew in February 2014 that the emails were “lost.” It’s impossible to reconcile the facts with the testimony.
Either the IRS lied to Congress then or they are lying now.
Not once did the IRS attempt to correct the record. Even if a single computer crash could destroy every trace of Ms. Lerner’s emails, which is technically implausible, the IRS and the Obama administration are still guilty of obstructing Congress.
Regardless of whether it is lies or obstruction, the IRS is clearly incapable of investigating itself, and the rest of the Obama administration is no better. In spite of these clear inconsistencies, the official White House response from incoming Press Secretary Josh Earnest was to joke, “You’ve never heard of a computer crashing before?”
The only joke here is the Obama administration’s supposed investigation. The person running the Justice Department “investigation,” is an essentially maxed-out Obama donor. The FBI leaked that there would be no criminal prosecutions forthcoming. The department itself is implicated right alongside Ms. Lerner, the Federal Election Commission and the IRS, conspiring to criminally prosecute the very groups that the IRS was targeting.
As a result of this tainted investigation, it is impossible for our clients to meet with federal investigators — with a Justice Department that was working with the IRS to create criminal prosecutions against them out of whole cloth. Thus, we are rejecting requests to meet with the Justice Department and the FBI.
No, this administration can’t be trusted. It can’t investigate itself. The American people deserve the truth. The only way this will occur is through an independent investigator — dedicated to finding the facts and holding those responsible for this unlawful scheme accountable. It’s well past time for a special counsel.
Jordan Sekulow is executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice, where Matthew Clark is a lawyer.