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Lois Lerner Tag

Democrats who had hoped for at least a week to sleep off their election night hangovers are getting no rest after the latest disclosure of court documents by advocacy group Judicial Watch. Judicial Watch has spent a great deal of time and resources seeking information about the IRS targeting of conservative groups. In September, Judicial Watch asked the court for permission to conduct discovery into how "lost and/or destroyed" records might be recovered; the IRS is fighting transparency efforts, but their latest response to the discovery request contains inconsistencies that could pull the rug out from under IRS officials responsible for the cover up. Via Judicial Watch:
Judicial Watch lawyers reviewed the IRS court filings and concluded that the agency “did not undertake any significant efforts to obtain the emails.” IRS attorneys conceded that they had failed to search the agency’s servers for missing emails because they decided that “the servers would not result in the recovery of any information.” They admitted they had failed to search the agency’s disaster recovery tapes because they had “no reason to believe that the tapes are a potential source of recovering” the missing emails. And they conceded that they had not searched the government-wide back-up system because they had “no reason to believe such a system … even exists.”
But what's this? The inconvenient truth, documented for all time courtesy of court filings? [Emphasis in bold mine:]

Our reader poll turned up strong support for Jason Mattera confronting Lois Lerner in her neighborhood, including following her to a neighbor's door. Based on the comments to that post, I think the general reasoning in favor was that Lerner deserves to have to answer questions, they do it to us (60 Minutes ambush interviews anyone? SEIU?), and we lose when we don't fight back and hold them to their own standards. The general reasoning against was that we are not like the other side, we need to be better, and it was creepy to follow her onto a neighbors' lawn and to the front door. Asking her questions on the street might be one thing, but running after her is too much. Poll Results Lois Lerner Jason Mattera But Greg Gutfeld on The Fives was not impressed with Mattera's performance, viewing it as counterproductive. Bob Beckel went further (surprise!) and challenged Mattera to a fight. TPM reports:
Conservative author Jason Mattera's ambush of former IRS official Lois Lerner has earned plaudits from certain conservative circles, but it was too much for the gang on Fox News Channel's "The Five." Co-host Greg Gutfeld said Wednesday that the video — in which Mattera chased Lerner around a suburban Washington, D.C. neighborhood as she walked her dogs — pulled off the impossible. "Seriously, that even made me feel bad for Lerner, and I can't stand her," Gutfeld said.... In fact, Beckel was so incensed that he's apparently willing to throw down with Mattera.

(Reader Poll at bottom of post) Jason Mattera of the Daily Surge recently filmed an unannounced confrontation with former IRS employee Lois Lerner in her own neighborhood. Lerner fled his camera and tried (unsuccessfully) to seek refuge in a neighbor's home:
VIDEO: Lois Lerner Tries Barging Into Neighbor’s Home To Evade Questions Lois Lerner attempted to bust into a neighbor’s home uninvited, in a desperate attempt to avoid answering questions about her involvement in the targeting of conservative groups. Jason Mattera, author of the explosive new book CRAPITALISM: Liberals Who Make Millions Swiping Your Tax Dollars, recently caught up with the disgraced former IRS official in her ritzy neighborhood outside Washington, D.C. Mattera, who publishes the Daily Surge, asked Lerner if she had any regrets for her role in the ongoing IRS corruption case, and if she wanted to take the opportunity to give a genuine apology to conservatives for using the force of government to harass and single them out. But, similar to her testimony before Congress where she pleaded the fifth, Lerner didn’t show any remorse, and, on a more latent level, showed her disregard for people’s privacy rights in general. In the video above, you can see Lerner fleeing from Mattera as she rushes through what appears to be a random person’s front yard.
Here's the video: This may seem invasive and inappropriate, but as Jason Mattera asks her in so many words, is it any more inappropriate than the way Lerner used her position at the IRS to target average Americans? In fact, this is a tactic the left has been using for quite a while.

Lois Lerner broke her silence in an interview at Politico, according to Politico: Exclusive: Lois Lerner breaks silence. More properly framed, Lerner repeated to Politico the same broad denials she made on the record in a House hearing just before pleading the 5th to avoid having those broad denials subjected to questioning. Here's her House statement, just before pleading the 5th for the first of two times: Here's an excerpt from Lerner's Politico interview: [___________]. That blank is there for a reason -- the Politico article was less an interview than a characterization of an interview. No transcript or even extensive quotation, other than some snippets, most of which concern Lerner's hurt feelings rather than the facts of what she did, what she knew, and when she knew it. Here's the conclusion to the Politico article:

Stay awake on Fridays if you want to follow the IRS targeting scandal. First, via The Hill, IRS: Five more staffers lost emails:
The IRS told lawmakers Friday that five staffers connected to the agency’s Tea Party controversy besides Lois Lerner probably lost emails due to computer problems. Those five staffers include officials key to the various investigations into the IRS’s improper scrutiny of Tea Party groups – including Judith Kindell, who was a senior adviser to Lerner, the former agency official at the center of the controversy.... Issa said Friday's letter showed once more that the IRS wasn't being straight with Congress, and pushed again for the Obama administration to appoint a special prosecutor. "The so-called 'most transparent administration in history' has given Congress inconsistent information since the beginning of the targeting scandal," Issa said. "The IRS's ever-changing story is practically impossible to follow at this point, as they modify it each time to accommodate new facts." Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration is currently investigating the missing emails, while conservative groups are suing the IRS in federal court over Lerner’s emails as well. As Lerner’s senior adviser, Kindell was a key figure in dealing with tax-exempt applications. In a February 2011 email, Lerner insisted that Kindell be looped in on Tea Party cases, calling them “very dangerous.”
Sharyl Attkisson reports that the IRS has not been straightforward as to missing emails, Missing emails: What is the IRS not telling Congress?:

I'm a day late to this, but better late than never. After admitting that Lois Lerner's supposedly missing emails were in the back-up system, the IRS has filed court documents in response to a Judge's Order indicating that after Lerner was summoned to testify before Congress, the IRS wiped clean Lerner's Blackberry. Via Fox News:
Lois Lerner’s BlackBerry was intentionally destroyed after Congress had begun its probe into IRS targeting of conservative groups, a senior IRS lawyer acknowledged in a sworn declaration. Thomas Kane, Deputy Assistant Chief Counsel for the IRS, wrote in the declaration, part of a lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch against the IRS, that the BlackBerry was "removed or wiped clean of any sensitive or proprietary information and removed as scrap for disposal in June 2012." That date - June 2012 - is significant because by that time, ex-IRS official Lerner had already been summoned before congressional staffers who interviewed her about reports of the IRS' targeting of conservative groups. "We had already talked to her. Our personal staff and Oversight Committee staff had sat down with Ms. Lerner and confronted her about information we were getting from conservative groups in the state of Ohio and around the country," Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, told Fox News. "If you intentionally destroy evidence, that is a crime. If you make a statement in court saying the evidence is not available and it is, that is also a crime," said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice.

Judicial Watch revealed today that Lois Lerner's fabled "missing e-mails" may still exist on a government backup system. Via Judicial Watch:
Department of Justice attorneys for the Internal Revenue Service told Judicial Watch on Friday that Lois Lerner’s emails, indeed all government computer records, are backed up by the federal government in case of a government-wide catastrophe. The Obama administration attorneys said that this back-up system would be too onerous to search. The DOJ attorneys also acknowledged that the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) is investigating this back-up system. We obviously disagree that disclosing the emails as required would be onerous, and plan to raise this new development with Judge Sullivan. This is a jaw-dropping revelation. The Obama administration had been lying to the American people about Lois Lerner’s missing emails. There are no “missing” Lois Lerner emails – nor missing emails of any of the other top IRS or other government officials whose emails seem to be disappearing at increasingly alarming rate. All the focus on missing hard drives has been a diversion. The Obama administration has known all along where the email records could be – but dishonestly withheld this information. You can bet we are going to ask the court for immediate assistance in cutting through this massive obstruction of justice.
In an interview with Fox News, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton laid out his plan to make sure that the government is forced to reveal anything that is backed up via this system.

Judicial Watch has sued over missing IRS emails in the federal district court in D.C., pursuant to its FOIA request for such documents. The IRS was ordered to provide explanations as to missing emails, particularly Lois Lerner. The IRS provided explanations, but those were not good enough for the Judge, who launched his own inquiry into the matter, as Judicial Watch explained in a statement posted on its website:
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton made the following statement in response to today’s order from Judge Emmet G. Sullivan regarding the recently “lost” emails of Lois Lerner and other IRS officials, which were the subject of longstanding Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. IRS (No. 1:13-cv-1559)):
In an extraordinary step, U. S. District Court Judge Emmett Sullivan has launched an independent inquiry into the issue of the missing emails associated with former IRS official Lois Lerner. Previously, Judge Sullivan ordered the IRS to produce sworn declarations about the IRS email issue by August 11. Today’s order confirms Judicial Watch’s read of this week’s IRS’ filings that treated as a joke Judge Sullivan’s order.
Judge Sullivan, in his earlier ruling, appointed Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola to manage and assist in discussions between Judicial Watch and the IRS about how to obtain any missing records from other sources. Magistrate Facciola is an expert in e-discovery, and authorized Judicial Watch to submit a request for limited discovery into the missing IRS records after September 10.
Here is the Judge's Order (emphasis added, hard paragraph breaks inserted for ease of reading):

Voter advocacy organization True the Vote hit a roadblock Thursday when a federal judge denied its request to have an independent forensic expert search for Lois Lerner's "missing" e-mails. Judge Reggie Walton of the U.S. District Court in Washington ruled that True the Vote's attorneys failed to provide evidence showing that the IRS had either already intentionally destroyed e-mails, or would do so in the future. Judge Walton also cited privacy concerns, saying that taxpayer data, as well as the ongoing investigation by an inspector general, could be compromised. Judge Walton also denied True the Vote's request for an injunction forcing the IRS to preserve all documents related to the lawsuit. He said that True the Vote failed to show “irreparable harm” in its request, and that “the public interest weighs strongly against the type of injunctive relief the plaintiff seeks.” From the court memorandum:
Accordingly, despite the general distrust of the defendants expressed by the plaintiff, the Court has no factual basis to concur with that distrust, not only as to the defendants but seemingly every component of the Department of the Treasury (and presumably of every component of the Executive Branch of the federal government), and therefore concludes that the issuance of an injunction will not further aid in the recovery of the emails, if such recovery is possible, but will rather only duplicate and potentially interfere with ongoing investigative activities.
True the Vote attorney Cleta Mitchell has downplayed the ruling, saying that the judge merely denied their request for expedited assistance. True the Vote filed suit against the IRS last year after the agency denied True the Vote's application for tax-exempt status. True the Vote is seeking immediate recognition as a 501(c)(3), and more than $85,000 in damages; they claim that they IRS targeted their organization because of their openly conservative agenda:

Shocking new emails released today by U.S. Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee shows Ms. Lerner's mistreatment of conservative groups was driven by her 'personal hostility toward conservatives.'
The November 9, 2012 email exchange with an unnamed colleague – the person's name was redacted in the copy Camp's staff released publicly – took place while Lerner was in the United Kingdom. 'Overheard some ladies talking about American[s] today,' Lerner wrote. 'According to them we've bankrupted ourselves and a[re] through. We'll never be able to pay off our debt and are going down the tubes.' Turning sarcastic, Lerner pounced on her British acquaintances. The conversation turned ugly when Lerner's writing companion let loose first on conservatives. 'Well, you should hear the whacko wing of the GOP,' the person replied. 'The US is through; too many foreigners sucking the teat; time to hunker down, buy ammo and food, and prepare for the end.' 'The right wing radio shows are scary to listen to.' 'Great,' Lerner wrote back. 'Maybe we are through if there are that many a**holes.' 'And I'm talking about the hosts of the shows,' came the reply. 'The callers are rabid.' In the final message of the exchange, Lerner wrote that 'we don't need to worry about [illegal] alien terrorists. It's our own crazies that will take us down.'
Camp says this latest information further warrants his call for Attorney General Eric Holder to name a special counsel to investigate the IRS targeting scandal.

Lois Lerner has become the personification of the IRS targeting scandal. Which brings us to her infamous hard drive crash. Recall that the new IRS Commissioner first told Congress that all of Lerner's emails were recoverable and would be provided to investigating committees. Sharyl Attkisson has a nice rundown of this explanation.
Friday’s revelation that the IRS “lost” Lois Lerner’s emails in a computer crash came ten months after Congress first requested them and seven months after they were first subpoenaed by the House Oversight Committee. But what IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testified about the emails at a hearing in March appears to be at odds with his agency’s newer reported claims that the emails are irretrievable. Under questioning by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) on the House Oversight Committee, Koskinen said IRS emails “get taken off and stored in servers.” That was part of the reason, he said, it was so difficult to provide them in a timely fashion. As of March, the IRS had reportedly given Congress more than 400,000 pages of documents: just not the ones at issue.
Then last month came the confounding news -- delivered offhandedly by the IRS -- that Lerner's hard drive was crashed, destroyed and recycled... along with six other IRS officials at the center of the targeting scandal. In the wake of two Federal judges putting pressure on the IRS, the tune seems to have changed once again. Lo and behold, the Lerner hard drive may be recoverable after all!

The attorney for Lois Lerner is speaking out, saying that his client doesn't have any records of the emails that were lost in a hard drive crash in 2011. From Politico:
Lois Lerner has no records of two years of missing emails and Republican claims that she’s hiding something are “silly,” her lawyer said in his first interview since the controversy around the former IRS official erupted two weeks ago. “She doesn’t know what happened,” lawyer William Taylor III said of the 2011 computer crash that erased two years worth of Lerner’s correspondence. “It’s a little brazen to think she did this on purpose.”
Taylor indicated that Lerner “requested that IT use every possible resource” to try and recover the contents of her hard drive. Regardless of the misfortune of Lerner’s unrecoverable hard drive, many have asked if the emails were printed in hard copy anywhere as a backup. IRS rules specify in part that agency emails “created or received in the transaction of agency business” are to be printed and kept on file. IRS commissioner John Koskinen has said that not all emails are necessarily considered an “official record.”
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