IRS

Inspector General Finds Lois Lerner Emails IRS Claimed Were too Difficult to Recover

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C-SPAN

Back in June, the Internal Revenue Service released a memo outlining the particulars of its search for email records related to the congressional investigation into possible IRS targeting of conservative nonprofit groups. It documented all the steps taken, all the costs and resources required. To the extent that the memo had a theme, it was that the IRS had engaged in spectacular, one might even say heroic, effort to find and release the emails.

The IRS, the memo explained, had "never before undertaken a document production of this size and scope." It took hundreds of employees and over a hundred thousand man hours to complete. The cost was well into the millions of dollars. Every effort had been made.

In particular, the agency memo stressed, it had thoroughly searched for emails from Lois Lerner, who during the time under investigation was the head of the IRS tax exempt division and who had become the key figure in the congressional inquiry.

That effort was hampered somewhat by the fact that Lerner had suffered a hard drive crash in mid-2011 wiping records of much of her email from the time period under investigation. Unfortunately, the memo explained, "the data stored on her computer's hard drive was determined at the time to be 'unrecoverable' by the IT professionals…Any of Ms. Lerner's email that was only stored on that computer's hard drive would have been lost when the hard drive crashed and could not be recovered."

Nor were backups of those emails available. The IRS memo explained that the agency took several steps to try to find those emails. In particular, the agency "confirmed that back-up tapes from 2011 no longer exist because they have been recycled."

The memo's message was clear. These emails were simply not available. The IRS had made every effort to recover her emails and any backups. But the backup tapes were gone, just like the original hard drive. They had confirmed it.

Apparently, however, they didn't confirm that it was true of all types of backup tapes. In addition to the agency's regularly recycled IT department backups, the IRS emails were also saved onto a disaster recovery system used to guarantee continuity of government in the event of a disaster.

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, which oversees IRS audits, confirmed at the end of last week that as many as 30,000 missing emails have been recovered from these disaster recovery tapes during the IG's investigations. Not all of those emails are certain to be new to the investigation, but many of them likely are.

As The Washington Post notes, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen had admitted the existence of these disaster backups, but said they would be too difficult and time-intensive to search. No doubt he's thrilled to hear that many of the missing emails have in fact been found. 

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  1. “No doubt he’s thrilled to hear that many of the missing emails have in fact been found.”

    “Hello, Priceline? How much for a one-way flight to Bermuda?”

    1. “Want to get away”?

      /Southwest Airlines

    1. Merry Christmas!

    2. Replace “good” with “largely ignored.” I didn’t see anything in google news about.

      (Don’t get me wrong, I think this should be a huge news story, I just doubt it will be.)

      1. There’s going to be a Congress full of Republicans in a few weeks, though. They won’t be good for much, but I doubt they’ll let this shit slide.

  2. Time to stock up on popcorn.

  3. PHAKE SKANDULL YOU WINGPEANUTZ!!!!

    /shriek

    1. Yes, to certain characters who haunt this space all scandals are fake – unless they are about BOOOOOOOOOSH!!!

    2. Peanut allergy trigger warning!!

  4. Oh, gee, it’s almost as if the IT pundits in the peanut gallery were right about backups all along.

    I’m going to bask in my moment of smug ans say “I told you so”.

    1. And my typo puts me back into my cubicle of shame.

      1. You need one of these. We had one in our office until someone decided it was “offensive”, rather than in the spirit of fun and camaraderie as it was being used.

        1. That’s awesome! Fuck the weenies who don’t like it.

          1. Shame Donuts are awesome too…until the vegan screws up then it is shame celery and carrots.

      2. It puts you into the cubicle of authenticity, you alingual geek.

      3. You flew too high, Icarus!

    2. You’ve got a duet, because not only are backups all over the place, the emails themselves are lying around in plain sight on the recipients’ hard drives or servers.

    3. I bet they were “found” long ago. No surprise that the scheduled discovery was a couple of weeks after the midterms and the weekend before Thanksgiving.

  5. Glad I got a new microwave.

    *Rips open bag of Orville Reddenbacher’s.*

  6. “As The Washington Post notes, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen had admitted the existence of these disaster backups, but said they would be too difficult and time-intensive to search. ”

    What he meant was that it would be just tooooooo dificult to produce them before the mid term elections.

    1. Imagine what the landslide would have looked like if everything had actually hit the fan…

    2. Also, they needed time to find and redact the truly incriminating ones.

      1. “Also, they needed time to find and redact the truly incriminating ones.”

        I’m betting 18-1/2 minutes of emails are missing.

        1. -1 Rosemary Woods

        2. Srsly, have you seen the FYTWs in the document dump about Operation Fast & Furious? Everything about Sharyl Attkisson mysteriously missing…. except one email in which her name was misspelled. Obviously that one wasn’t caught when they did the global search-and-redact.

      2. Or if the Obamacare open enrollment period had started at the same time it did last year instead of after the mid term elections.

  7. Geez, I’m seriously considering investing in the popcorn industry with all the scandals happening…

  8. 2 questions I’ve wondered about

    1) aren’t there laws governing record keeping of this sort?

    2) why hasn’t anyone put those responsible for that record keeping under oath?

    That aspect of the story seems to not even exist.

    1. 1) Yes

      2) There is a reason the Republicans are known as the Stupid party.

      1. as to #2, I’m not sure if they had the votes to subpoena anyone with the current congress. 2015 is going to be another matter, though.

        1. They subpeonaed people about it in the House. They just lacked support in the Senate to do anything about it. That changes in a month and a half.

      2. 1) Yes, there are a great many laws governing this.

        2) They have…that’s how they found out about the backup systems and the fact that the IRS never mentioned these hard drive crashes to the National Archives (as they were legally required to do) and that their lack of backups was illegal. The people who were both responsible and culpable in those missing records pled the Fifth…they’re the ones who’ll be getting leaned on hard by Congress, come January.

    2. 2) It’s government – no one is responsible.

  9. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen had admitted the existence of these disaster backups, but said they would be too difficult and time-intensive to search.

    The continuity of government depends on these backup files. Is he saying that the organization of these records is no better than a collection of papers in a roll-off dumpster? I routinely find specific emails from 10 years ago using the simple tools available to me through Microsoft Outlook. Who would believe such nonsense.

    1. Nobody. Nobody believes his nonsense.

      1. “Nobody. Nobody believes his nonsense.”

        Well, a nobody named shreek does.

        1. He probably doesn’t even believe it. He just repeats it becuase that’s the party line.

    2. Trey Gowdy certainly doesn’t. On YouTube, there are several videos of him ripping apart Koskinen’s more blatant lies.

      The GOP in the House was simply hamstrung from doing anything about it by the Democrats in the Senate.

  10. “the IRS emails were also saved onto a disaster recovery system used to guarantee continuity of government in the event of a disaster.”

    You didn’t think we’d let a disaster hamper the IRS, did you???

    1. “You didn’t think we’d let a disaster hamper the IRS, did you???”

      The IRS IS a disaster – and has been for a very long time.

      1. And it hasn’t hampered them yet, has it?

    2. I’m sure that even if the IRS’ disaster recovery plan failed to bring their system back online in the event of a true catastrophe the hard working agents would be able to revert back to simpler times and use hand written forms to penalize taxpayers for not being able to produce electronic copies of their documents (which were also destroyed in the same catastrophe).

  11. No matter what is on these emails it will not matter. Obumbles and his acolytes are no different than our resident turd polisher. Nothing is over the top, nothing is ever their fault, all scandals no matter how egregious are fake, no lie is too big.

    1. I do have to laugh though. Obumbles waved a shiny immigration thing for us to look at to keep us from looking at the one hundred and sixty eight fake scandals we can hardly keep up with and just as people were starting to look at it…….this pops up.

      Damn, these fake scandals keep resurrecting themselves!

  12. regularly recycled IT department backups

    The EPA’s Dehydrated Water program likes the sound of that.

  13. too difficult and time-intensive to search

    And people bought this? There are multiple companies that efficiently search THE ENTIRE FUCKING INTERNET.

    I hear some even search the non-fucking parts of the internet, though I’m not entirely sure why.

    1. ” non-fucking parts of the internet”

      I know what all those words mean, but I have no idea what they mean in that order.

      1. It is referring to Jezebel and the other feminist sites.

        Gods know there ain’t any fucking going on with those harpies around

    2. Google will even sell you a preconfigured appliance for searching your own corporate data. Seriously, it ain’t that difficult if you really wanna do it.

      1. Oh, please. The Government use an off-the-shelf product? They’re required by procurement regulations to pay someone from the Committee Chairman’s district a kazillion dollars to design a system that doesn’t work.

  14. Ok, so the IRS says the emails are lost forever no way they can be found and now months later they find them? I am guessing we will have Lerner’s grocery list, photos of her sock drawer and at least one swearing on her mother’s grave that she would never use the IRS for partisan purposes.

    Just a guess.

    1. And an 18-1/2 minute gap.

      1. And they say I’m a geezer.

  15. Last week Actavis bought Allergan. It’s all about the taxes:
    http://danieljmitchell.wordpre…..nversions/

    An editorial in the Wall Street Journal looks at the latest example of an American company getting a new address.

    Ireland-based drug company Actavis on Monday announced a $66 billion agreement to buy California’s Allergan , maker of the Botox anti-wrinkle treatment. ?the tax savings?could be hundreds of millions a year beginning in 2015.

    The folks at the WSJ make the obvious point about bad American tax laws.

    ?the deal highlights how desperately U.S. tax policy needs a makeover. ?As if a combined state and local corporate tax rate of 40%?the highest in the industrialized world?isn’t harsh enough, the U.S. is also one of the few countries in which the government demands to be paid even on earnings that have already been taxed in foreign jurisdictions. Given this competitive disadvantage for U.S.-based firms, it’s no coincidence that both of the suitors that have been seeking to acquire Allergan are based overseas.

    And what’s really remarkable is that both the suitors used to be U.S.-based companies!

    1. Gee, and here moonbeam assures us that no company leaves CA because of taxes!

    2. DAMN YOU, TAX INVERSION BASTARDS!

    3. I know there’s a joke in there somewhere about Irish eyes smiling without wrinkles.

      1. Nancy Pelosi would be outraged, if she didn’t already secrete botox from her botulism ravaged pores.

        Being able to tell if she’s outraged is pretty hard to do, anyway.

  16. That effort was hampered somewhat by the fact that Lerner had suffered a hard drive crash in mid-2011 wiping records of much of her email from the time period under investigation. Unfortunately, the memo explained, “the data stored on her computer’s hard drive was determined at the time to be ‘unrecoverable’ by the IT professionals…Any of Ms. Lerner’s email that was only stored on that computer’s hard drive would have been lost when the hard drive crashed and could not be recovered.”

    I’ll offer my services for… $200,000. I’ll find her emails. At minimum, I’ll find the people she sent those emails to, or anyone involved in the conversation chain, and we’ll find those emails. Because unless EVERYONE at IRS is keeping 100% of their emails in a PST file on their local hard drive, they’re there, and backed up.

    1. If you agree to mock the American people and systematically undermine the administration’s efforts on camera, you could easily double your fee.

    2. I’ve yet to see an organization of more than a dozen people that didn’t use a centralized mail server. The business about them being lost due to a local hard drive crash just doesn’t pass the smell test. Nor have I ever done a government contract where they didn’t have oodles of cash for hardware. The last one, a national laboratory that shall remain nameless, spent $1.5 million at years end on hardware they didn’t even know what they were going do with, so that they could exhaust their budget and ask for more next year.

  17. My girlfriend’s former optometrist makes $60 an hour on the laptop deleting emails from the IRS servers. He used to be an unemployed schmuck, but only working a few hours, he made $6,287 last month! Check it out, you can delete embarrassing government emails too!

    ???? http://www.whatsunshinelaw.tk

  18. If you start a search for email, you assume, don’t you, that it wants to be found — that it’s not hiding?

    In a bureau of this size, could email evade such a search?

    I submit to you that this email is not lost!

  19. I’m guessing they actually retrieved this off of an NSA server.

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