Expect More Fireworks At Tonight's Prime-time Oversight Hearing on IRS Obstruction

Tonight at 7:00 Eastern the House Oversight Committee will have their shot at getting answers from IRS Commissioner John Koskinen on the destruction of two years of key IRS  emails at a hearing entitled, “IRS Obstruction: Lois Lerner’s Missing Emails.” 

I expect even more fireworks tonight than there was at the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on Friday, given the latest developments on the IRS scandal that came to light over the weekend.

On Friday afternoon, it was discovered that the IRS used email back-up company, Sonasoft, a small Silicon Valley company with connections to Obama. 

The Daily Caller reported on Sunday that the IRS canceled their contract with Sonasoft just weeks after Lerner’s computer crashed and shortly before other IRS officials’ computers allegedly crashed.

The Oversight Committee requested that the IRS make Thomas Kane, the IRS Acting Deputy Chief Counsel for Procurement and Administration, available for a transcribed interview about the missing emails soon after Congress was notified that the emails were missing. Incredibly, the IRS declined. 

The Committee then requested a briefing “to discuss the IRS’s e-mail systems, data retention policies, and document production processes” but the IRS declined that request as well.

“Because the IRS has refused to provide basic information about these matters to the Committee in advance of the hearing, and in the interest of promoting a frank and thorough discussion at the hearing, I ask that you provide answers to the factual questions posed below,” writes Issa in a letter addressed to Commissioner John Koskinen on Saturday.

At a hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee Friday, Koskinen testified that there’s been no attempt to intentionally destroy documents. Republicans were skeptical while Democrats apologized to Koskinen and accused Republicans of being obsessed with Area 51-like conspiracies.

Issa submitted 15 technology questions to Koskinen to be answered by 5:00 pm Monday afternoon.

Among the questions Issa wants answers to is one about outside contractors:

5. Please identify all vendors and outside contractors used by the IRS for the following purposes:
q. To develop, service, or maintain the IRS’s e-mail systems.
r. To develop, service, or maintain the IRS’s e-mail exchange servers.
s. To recycle or destroy IRS hard drives.
t. To provide mobile phone and data services.

Here are the 15 questions the Oversight Committee has submitted to the IRS.

1. Explain, in detail, Lois Lerner’s 2011 hard drive failure, including the date it happened, and give the names of all employees who worked on retrieving data from it.

2. When did you learn that the hard drive failure affected the Oversight Committee’s subpoena into the IRS targeting scandal, and which IRS staffers realized that the subpoena could not be fulfilled?
3. Explain all the steps the IRS took to retrieve data from Lerner’s hard drive
4. Name all IRS employees that worked on agency email servers between 2009 and 2014.
5. Name all IRS contractors that worked on agency email or hard drive systems

6. Give the names of the IRS employees most knowledgeable about email servers and data retention

7. Identify the IRS employees that last had possession of Lerner’s computer, cell phones, hard drive, backup email tapes, and information about errors in IRS electronic hardware

8. Give us all relevant information about IRS document retention policies

9. Name the type of email service the IRS uses and the type of email exchange server and tell us whether any email is stored on an IRS shared drive

10. Explain in detail the IRS’ electronic data restoration and archival systems

11. How many forensic images from Lerner’s failed hard drive still exist?

12. How many forensic images from Lerner’s failed hard drive still existed on August 31, 2011 (when the IRS’ contract with Sonasoft expired)?

13. List all the software and hardware malfunctions that occurred at the agency between January 1, 2011 and June 30, 2011

14. Give us Lerner’s computer barcode.

15. Give us Lerner’s cell phone barcode.



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