The Internal Revenue Service may have found 6,400 emails from Lois Lerner, who oversaw the tax agency’s Exempt Organizations Unit, but the government agency has no plans to share.
Continue Reading Below
Attorneys from the Department of Justice representing the IRS say the emails won’t be shared because the service is making sure that none of them are duplicates. Lerner is at the center of a scandal in which the tax agency denied special tax status to conservative groups. Her emails have been sought by members of Congress and conservative groups alike.
One of those groups, Judicial Watch, has been seeking emails as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed two years ago. Originally, the IRS said the email trail was permanently lost because the computer drive that contained it crashed. However, the Treasury Department’s Inspector General for Tax Administration or TIGTA, was able to retrieve 6,400 emails which it has subsequently sent to the agency. It is these emails that the IRS wants to check for duplicates.
However, Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton, has said that the inspector general’s office has already checked for copies. “Even though TIGTA already identified and removed emails that were duplicates, the IRS is in ‘the process of conducting further manual deduplication of the 6,400’ emails, rather than reviewing them in response to Judicial Watch’s FOIA requests that are more than two years old now,” Fitton told The Daily Caller. “Our legal team will continue pursuing all necessary and available legal options to hold the IRS accountable for its flagrant abuse of power.”
Applications for tax exempt status were held up by the IRS for weeks and months as the president sought re-election. Lerner has subsequently retired and, before claiming her 5th amendment rights to prevent self-incrimination she claimed her own innocence on the matter.
This is the latest cloud swirling around the IRS which just last week announced plans to combat future cyber-attacks after thieves stole the personal information of 100,000 taxpayers earlier this year.