Oops! IRS Says Employees Mistakenly Erased Tea Party Emails
A month after officials realized that thousands of emails related to the apparent targeting of the Tea Party by the IRS had been deleted, IRS employees erased over 400 computer backup tapes containing those emails. Rather than an anti-Tea Party conspiracy, the investigators claim, plain old incompetence is to blame for the erasure of the evidence.
According to the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, 422 backup tapes containing as many as 24,000 of Lois Lerner’s emails were mistakenly destroyed by IRS workers. The report comes via a prepared testimony from Treasury IG J. Russell George obtained by the Associated Press. George is scheduled to present his testify about his investigation Thursday before the House Oversight Committee. AP reports:
IRS workers erased 422 computer backup tapes that “most likely” contained as many as 24,000 emails to and from former IRS official Lois Lerner, who has emerged as a central figure in congressional investigations, according to IRS’s inspector general.
The workers erased the tapes a month after IRS officials discovered that an untold number of Lerner’s emails were lost. The IG says the workers were unaware of a year-old directive not to destroy email backup tapes. […]
George says his investigation “did not uncover evidence that the erasure was done in furtherance of an effort to destroy evidence or conceal information from Congress and/or law enforcement.”