House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., is offering Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen a chance to amend his June 23rd testimony that former IRS official Lois Lerner followed the Federal Records Act, after conflicting statements were made by Lerner’s attorney.
“Recent public statements from William W. Taylor III, the attorney representing former IRS official Lois Lerner, have raised new questions about Ms. Lerner’s Federal Records Act compliance practices and the circumstances surrounding the loss of e-mails and destruction of her hard drive,” Issa writes in a letter to Koskinen. “Accordingly, I ask that you assist the Committee in reconciling apparent discrepancies between your claims that Ms. Lerner fully maintained records and statements by her attorney that she did not and that it was not her responsibility. “
On June 23, 2013, Koskinen testified under oath at a Committee hearing that Ms. Lerner followed the Federal Records Act requirements by retaining hard-copies of her e-mail messages. When questioned about the missing e-mails that may have been lost when Lerner’s hard-drive crashed, Koskinen testified, “The responsibility is, if you have an email that’s a record, you print it out in hard copy . . . My understanding is every employee is supposed to print records . . . that are official records on hard copy and keep them. She had hard copy records.”
However, on June 30th, Lerner’s attorney, Taylor, told Politico that “Lerner did not print out official records she may have sent over email because she didn’t know she had to.” Lerner’s attorney also attempted to deflect responsibility for keeping the records by stating, “If somebody is supposed to keep archived copies, that’s the IT department’s or her staff’s responsibility.”
“In light of statements by Ms. Lerner’s attorney, including the statement that she did not believe she was ‘required’ to maintain a printed archive of federal record e-mails, as well as the record of correspondence between Ms. Lerner and the Justice Department that the IRS apparently did not maintain, the Committee would like to offer you the opportunity to amend your testimony that you have no idea ‘whether anything that was lost was an official record or not’ and acknowledge that Ms. Lerner did not follow policies necessary for Federal Records Act compliance that have obstructed the congressional investigation into the IRS’s targeting,” Issa writes. The letter also requests the IRS identify all employees responsible for Lerner’s compliance with federal records laws, as well as any employees who printed her email records.
At a June 24th hearing, the National Archivist testified that the IRS “did not follow the law” when it failed to report Lerner’s hard-drive crash.
You can read today’s letter to Koskinen here.