Lost Emails? The IRS Has a Contract with an Email Backup Company
As IRS commissioner John Koskinen sat on Capitol Hill belatedly informing a Congressional committee of the "disappearance" of years of email communications from a host of IRS employees under investigation--including Lois Lerner--it was discovered that the IRS had hired an email backup company to prevent just such a loss of data.
After the commissioner's testimony, a Twitter user went hunting for info on the IRS and discovered that as far back as 2005 a company named Sonasoft had announced that it had been awarded a data backup contract from the IRS. Even as late as 2009, the company had tweeted about its association with the taxing agency.
So, how is it that commissioner Koskinen was so sure during his testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee that all the emails of the very IRS operatives under investigation just happened to have disappeared forever?
Did Mr. Koskinen check with Sonasoft to see if the backup company had the emails? Does he even know of Sonasoft's existence?
Sonasoft seems to be aware of the IRS, anyway. On its website, the tech company lists the IRS as one of the clients it does archiving work for.
In another section of its website, Sonasoft posted a document describing its own services, noting that it "archives all email content and so reduces the risk of non-compliance with legal, regulatory and other obligations to preserve critical business content."
Has the commissioner checked with Sonasoft?
For his part, Koskinen smugly claimed that he and his agency was flatly innocent of any wrong doing. But the commissioner was sharply criticized for arrogantly claiming that the IRS has no reason to apologize to the American people; not for the targeting scandal where conservatives were set up for IRS harassment as they applied for a tax status, nor for hiding the fact that these emails had supposedly disappeared even though he knew about it for many months.
It was all too much for several members of the committee. The usually mild mannered Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), for instance, was livid with Koskinen. "This is a pattern of abuse. A pattern of behavior that is not giving us any confidence that this agency is being impartial," Ryan said on Friday.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com.