After being told that Lois Lerner’s computer, along with several others, crashed and that emails from her could not be retrieved, even though there was an independent email backup company employeed by the Internal Revenue Service (fired after the fact), we come to find out that Ms. “I’ve done nothing wrong, but plead the Fifth” Lerner actually printed out some of those alleged missing emails..
According to her attorney Bill Taylor, she claimed not to have printed out and filed her emails as she is required to do, according to the Federal Records Act. Say it isn’t so! Another Obama minion has broken the law! So far that’s at least Eric Holder and Kathleen Sebelius that Lerner joins in this respect.
Chairman of the House Oversight and Governement Reform Committee Darrell Issa (R-CA) said, “The Federal Records Act requires agencies to make and preserve records of agency decisions, policies, and essential transactions, and to take steps to safeguard against the loss of agency records.”
According to the IRS website:
The Federal Records Act applies to email records just as it does to records you create using other media. Emails are records when they are: Created or received in the transaction of agency business; Appropriate for preservation as evidence of the government’s function and activities; or Valuable because of the information they contain.
If you create or receive email messages during the course of your daily work, you are responsible for ensuring that you manage them properly. The Treasury Department’s current email policy requires emails and attachments that meet the definition of a federal record be added to the organization’s files by printing them (including the essential transmission data) and filing them with related paper records. If transmission and receipt data are not printed by the email system, annotate the paper copy.
Please note that maintaining a copy of an email or its attachments within the IRS email MS Outlook application does not meet the requirements of maintaining an official record. Therefore, print and file email and its attachments if they are either permanent records or if they relate to a specific case.
Lerner attorney William Taylor, prior to the hearing, walked back previous comments he made to POLITICO that Lerner did not print off and file her official emails because she didn’t know she had to.
In an interview last month, he said she did not, later following up with an email, writing: “Did she print out official records and file them[?] Answer. No, and she did not think it was required.”
Now he says she may have printed an unspecified number.
“During her tenure as director of exempt organizations, she did print out some emails, although not every one of the thousands she sent and received,” he said in a statement Wednesday.
The IRS rules require that all “official” emails — any correspondence dealing with agency policies or operations — be printed off and filed in accordance with the Federal Records Act. As head of a division, many of Lerner’s emails would presumably have been “official.”
Taylor, in an email exchange after the statement was released, said his answer to POLITICO’s original question in the interview several weeks ago stays the same: “Your question was whether she printed out ‘official records’ and filed them. I am not saying she did that. That presumes a level of scrutiny and process over every email that did not occur.”
He said his beef is with the way Issa has used the comments to say she did not print out any emails.
“That is not true. She did print some but not all, by any means,” he said.
Taylor in the earlier interview said that “if somebody is supposed to keep archived copies, that’s the IT department’s or her staff’s responsibility.” He said such a rule would require her to print off a whole bunch of emails, and “we’d be back to the days of paper. That can’t be what they want or intended by this.”
“If she didn’t [print], it wasn’t because she tried to conceal anything.”
That wasn’t all, Taylor also blasted the panel looking at Lerner and then pressing the issue of her violation of the Federal Records Act violation saying, “What began as an inquiry into the IRS’s processing of applications for tax exemption has become an inquiry into the IRS’s compliance with the Federal Records Act. This subsequent inquiry is apparently a useful diversion because the initial investigation has demonstrated no wrongdoing.”
In other words, she broke the law, but according to her attorney that isn’t reason to stick her with it.
Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) said, “For her to be worried right on the heels of this draft IG report that Congress may search her instant messages. … That is very troubling.”
Director of business systems planning for tax-exempt division of the IRS Maria Hooke said, “”I was cautioning folks about email and how we have had several occasions where Congress has asked for emails and there has been an electronic search for responsive emails — so we need to be cautious about what we say in emails.”
Hooke in the email chain responded to Lerner and cc’d Nan Downing, the head of exempt organizations examinations: “OSC messages are not set to automatically save as the standard; however the functionality exists within the software. … My general recommendation is to treat the conservation as if it could/is being saved somewhere as it is possible for either party of the conversation to retain the information and have it turn up as part of an electric search.”
Judicial Watch has a Freedom of Information Act request in to obtain Lerner’s printed emails. US District Court Judge is scheduled to rule on Thursday as to whether they can get them or not.
Tim Brown is the Editor of Freedom Outpost.