by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Lois Lerner had a trigger finger for investigating—even activities that weren’t violations of the tax code. In one of the emails that the IRS did turn over to Congress, the head of the unit that investigated conservative non-profits during the last election cycle wondered whether an investigation should be launched over an invitation for Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) to speak at an event. The offer raised Lerner’s antennae because it included attendance for Grassley’s wife, too. Lerner knew of the invitation to Grassley only because it had been mistakenly sent to Lerner instead. In the email chain, one of Lerner’s subordinates had to explain to her that there was no violation unless the Senator actually accepted the invitation and then failed to report the ticket for his wife as income. [Human Events, June 25]
• Lack of funding doesn’t explain why the IRS lost Lerner’s emails: “The IRS under the Obama Administration has spent over $4 billion on contracts labeled under information technology and software despite IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testifying this week that budgetary restraints prevented the agency from spending $10 million to save and store emails.” [Washington Free Beacon, June 26]
• The IRS terminated data storage contracts in the months following the “crash” of Lois Lerner’s hard drive:
The IRS, which spent $44.1 million in information technology (IT) hardware maintenance in fiscal year 2011 and $47.8 million in fiscal year 2012, closed out its six-year business relationship with the email archiving-and-recovery company Sonasoft in September 2011. Meanwhile, sophisticated data storage devices were being thrown away in the agency’s national IT offices in Maryland, even though the IRS was still paying for maintenance on the devices.
The IRS prematurely “retired” data-storage devices and filled out “disposal” documents for hardware that still existed and was supposed to still be in use, according to a Sept. 24, 2013 Treasury Inspector General (TIGTA) report entitled “Increased Oversight of Information Technology Hardware Maintenance Contracts Is Necessary To Ensure Against Paying for Unnecessary Services.” [Daily Caller, June 25]
• According to the nation’s archivist, David Ferriero, federal agencies are supposed to notify the national archives when they become aware of a loss or destruction of official records. “They did not follow the law,” Ferriero told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Monday. [Fox News, June 24]