U.S. Archivist Tells Congress IRS Didn't Follow The Law

During part two of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee hearing on IRS Obstruction, Tuesday morning, the nation’s top archivist told Congress that the IRS “did not follow the law” when it failed to report the loss of Lois Lerner’s emails.  

In June of 2011, ten days after House Ways & Means Chairman Dave Camp sent a letter of inquiry to the IRS regarding possible targeting of conservative groups seeking tax exempt status, Lerner’s computer crashed, resulting in the loss of records that Republicans needed to prove the agency was targeting conservative groups.

“Any agency is required to notify us when they realize they have a problem,” said U.S. Archivist, David Ferriero. But according to his records, the National Archives and Records Administration did not learn about the lost emails until this month.

At the Oversight hearing, last night, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said that he had seen no evidence anyone committed a crime when the agency lost the emails, telling Congressman Trey Gowdy that Congress does have evidence that there are no emails from the White House, so they can reject the basic premise that this was  a “conspiracy driven by the White House.”

“No sir, you’re wrong about that,” Gowdy interjected, “you’re repeating a talking point.” He went on to inform the acting IRS commissioner that the president and Jay Carney had incriminated themselves when they made false statements about the scandal. 

On Tuesday, Ferriero didn’t go so far as to say that the IRS broke the law – only that the agency didn’t “follow” the law.
“Federal agencies are responsible for preventing the unauthorized disposition of federal records, including their unlawful or accidental destruction, deletion, alteration, or removal from federal custody,” he said. “When an agency becomes aware of an incident of unauthorized destruction, they must report the incident to us.”