Lois Lerner Used Instant-Messaging System Because It Didn’t Save Her Messages

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Patrick Howley Political Reporter
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The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) used an instant-messaging system that did not automatically save the messages they sent, according to newly released emails obtained by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Disgraced former IRS official Lois Lerner loved the agency’s “Office Communication Server” (OCS) specifically because it left no record of her messages during the period in which her department was targeting conservative and tea party groups.

“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,” Lerner wrote in an email to co-workers.

Lerner asked colleagues whether the OCS system automatically archives its messages. A colleague advised that it does not, but that the “save” function does exist within OCS, and “to treat the conversation as if it could/is being saved somewhere.”

“Perfect,” Lerner replied.

Republican Reps. Jim Jordan and Ron DeSantis co-wrote an op-ed Tuesday for The Wall Street Journal calling for IRS commissioner John Koskinen’s firing.

“Unfortunately, Commissioner Koskinen, who took over in the wake of the IRS targeting scandal, has failed the American people by frustrating Congress’s attempts to ascertain the truth,” Jordan and DeSantis wrote. “A taxpayer would never get away with treating an IRS audit the way that IRS officials have treated the congressional investigation. Civil officers like Mr. Koskinen have historically been held to a higher standard than private citizens because they have fiduciary obligations to the public. The IRS and Mr. Koskinen have breached these basic fiduciary duties.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated.

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