House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa has told IRS commissioner John Koskinen that his sworn testimony on Lois Lerner’s missing emails was contradicted by recent statements from Lerner’s lawyer, and offered Koskinen a chance to amend his testimony.
“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 wrote in a letter Wednesday 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.”
Lerner and six other IRS employees allegedly suffered computer crashes that wiped out the emails they sent during the agency’s targeting of conservative groups. The Federal Records Act required Lerner to keep hard copies of her emails. But while Koskinen maintained that Lerner followed the law, Taylor said otherwise.
Koskinen testified on June 23 that “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.”
But a week later Lerner’s attorney Bill Taylor essentially threw the IRS under the bus to defend his client. Taylor released a series of statements to a Virginia-based publication stating that Lerner did not know she was supposed to comply with federal law.
“Lerner did not print out official records she may have sent over email because she didn’t know she had to,” Taylor said. “If somebody is supposed to keep archived copies, that’s the IT department’s or her staff’s responsibility.”
Issa is giving Koskinen a chance to “amend” his testimony, which appears to have been inaccurate.
“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 wrote.