The Smoking Hard Drive: Did Lois Lerner Knowingly Destroy Evidence?

About a year ago, Lois Lerner got in big trouble when it became clear that the IRS was knowingly targeting right-wing groups for closer scrutiny before granting tax-exempt status. The scandal that ensued resulted in her resignation, but the whole story had not yet come to light.

One of the major unanswered questions was, “How much of this was the White House aware of, and did the White House actually encourage or even order the IRS to make it difficult on right-wing organizations?”

That whole story may never come to light, however. Since Lois Lerner apparently destroyed the hard drive that contained all the emails between her and the White House, after a computer crash had purportedly made those emails inaccessible. That seems too convenient to be a coincidence. And even if it actually were the case that this whole missing email thing was just an accidental workplace mishap, it makes you wonder about how the IRS is getting away with such shoddy records-keeping.

They don’t allow us to do that, do they? You have to keep records on file for your taxes for at least three years. Sometimes you need up to six years of records if a major discrepancy is found in your more recent returns. Up to six years of personal records in case of an audit. The IRS, on the other hand, has instructed its employees to keep six months of records, and to back things up in hard copy before they wipe their hard drives. That’s ridiculous.

How can an organization entrusted with so much of our personal information be so bad about keeping records? And what about the White House? These emails weren’t one-way street communications. Isn’t there any record of them at the White House? Or were those hard drives also accidentally destroyed maliciously? This situation is most troubling. Although, it is just one more thing to add to a long list of government corruption and lack of accountability. So it will more than likely blow over without much more than fruitless sound and fury.

55 responses

  1. Someone else did it for her to make sure the hard drive was too corrupted to retrieve any information. Chances are the computers of those other six people who sent e-mails to the WH and the DOJ, have had their hard drives destroyed as well. Only an empty headed dunce would not see this for what it is – a major cover up worse than Watergate.

  2. The IRS manager in Cleveland, who is a self proclaimed conservative republican, testified that he and others came up with “flag words” for right leaning and left leaning 501c4 groups. Since Citizens United, a lot more of these groups were popping up. They chose right leaning words like Freedom, Patriot, Tea Party etc AND left leaning words like Progressive, Unity, Forward etc. The fact is not 1 conservative OR left leaning group lost their tax exempt status.
    Why don’t any of these sites or talk radio EVER talk about this man’s testimony?
    Also, on several occasions during the Bush Admin. millions of emails had been lost. Where was the conservative outrage on those occasions? We waste so much money and time on these phony scandals instead of doing the work of the people.

    • No. The question is not who lost their tax exempt status. At issue is WHO DID NOT GET their tax exempt status. Your post is pure liberal boilerplate…

        • Be careful. Most on the far right become outraged when we ask them questions. Most of them don’t know because it takes too much work and they’ll never believe anyone but those inside their small bubble. If proven wrong, they’ll never admit it.

          • YOU are nothing but a trolling thug. YOU have no opinion. YOU are paid to annoy. PERIOD. May God have mercy on your dark soul

          • More liberals should participate on this site. The far right lives in an echo chamber.

          • There’s the pot calling the kettle black. It must be simply coinicidence that all your opinions are Dem talking points.

          • We just laugh at you moonrocket. Your left wing bubble allows for no dissent. Dissenters are targeted for destruction in your bubble. You simply blather on with your Dem talking points incoherently and you never prove anything. Steyer brothers Loony, Steyer brothers.

          • The truth is that liberal Democrat worshippers don’t care what their leaders do. Their leaders can lie, cheat, steal and worse… as long as they are preaching the liberal orthodoxy. They don’t have to believe it or pretend to live by it… they just have to preach it and their loyal minions will follow them to the very gates of Hell. Sums you up pretty well lightsocket.

        • True the VOTE the one Elijah Cummings went after for one and ALL with PATIOT OR FREEMDOM in the title! 90 conservatives to 6 liberal organizations! You should try watching FOX part of the time just to get a WIFF of the other side I watch CNN and MSNBC both until I get sick then change the channel. Maybe you just don’t get reception in your MOMMY’s BASEMENT!

          • sorry to disappoint you, but I own my own home and business and have watched Fox on occasion. When I see that they run with the same 2 or 3 stories and omit pertinent facts it becomes frustrating. On every single issue they side with the Plutocrats (oiland gas, wall st, pharma and insurance, military profiteers, agribusiness and telecoms) If they ever decide to be on the side of the public or common good without labeling it socialism I might try longer. They are masters of pitting Americans against Americans. It is all to manipulate us to stay divided because the Plutocrats know the only way we can get our government back is to be united.Sad to see you fell for it.

    • Hi Ifallar, I submitted my comment above before I ever read yours. Citizens United was a bad decision from the conservatives on The Supreme Court. The IRS IS doing their job. If there’s more money floating around for Republican, it’s their (GOP) problem. There’s “dark money” that we’ll never know about.

      Big donors like the Koch brothers and others are trying to avoid detection. It’s political. Republicans in Congress work for their BIG DONORS. That’s what this investigation is about.

    • Not quite the conservative groups NEVER GOT tax exempt status THAT’s the CRIME the left GOT THEIRS! BUT NO CONSERVATIVES got theirs. NOT DO YOU UNDERSTAND?? You can not get news from comics or MSNBC You should have some one read this too you! The conservatives DID get outraged over Bushes emails and challenged the President over them MSNBC covered THAT just did not follow up! Why do you NOT care NOW???

        • You are an IDIOT!!! We know they didn’t lose their TAX EXEMPT STATUS you jackass, because they never GOT IT to lose!! Unlike Obozo’s brother who managed to obtain his 501c4 in less than one month, the right-leaning groups waited over two years. Just long enough for the re-election to be over . . . how convenient!!

          By LAW, The IRS is supposed to approve or deny the application within a given period of time. Many right-leaning groups waited over two years and some are still waiting.

          And let’s not ignore the ILLEGAL questions the right-wing groups were asked by the IRS during the process:
          – “Does the group pray prior/ after a meeting?”
          – “Names of those in your group?”

      • I care very much about corruption and the selling of our government to the highest bidder is the root cause .Sadly, the conservatives on the SCOTUS opened the door with Citizens United. Now we expect the IRS to handle massive numbers of 501c4 groups coming out of the woodwork to affect the outcomes of elections.
        If we really cared about honest elections both parties and all citizens would be furious. Our Congresspeople spend more time fundraising than doing the people’s business and because of the big donors they now do their business, not ours. You can blame the IRS or computer crashes(happen frequently) or whoever the right wing media tells you to, but the real problem is a corrupt system becoming a plutocracy. Take ALL private money out of campaigns. We might just get politicians representing us again and having time to do their job.

    • Some facts

      1.100% of the groups that the IRS selected for audit were right leaning.
      2.Only seven applications in the IRS backlog contained the word ‘progressive,’ all of which were then approved by the IRS
      3The IRS also targeted right-leaning groups that were already operating as 501(c)(4)s
      4. The IRS asked the tea party groups for a list of their donors and 10% of tea party donors were audited by IRS
      5. On May 10, 2013: Lerner admits to and apologizes for additional review
      of conservative groups’ 501(c)4 status applications
      6. The founder of True the Vote, Engelbrecht, said “True the Vote’s application for tax-exempt status started the left’s war on Engelbrecht and her organization and also “triggered aggressive audits of one of her family’s personal businesses as well.”

      Engelbrecht’s business had never been visited by the federal government before:

      The FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) began a series of inquiries about her and her group; the BATF (Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms) began demanding to see her family’s firearms in surprise
      audits of her and her husband’s small gun dealership – which had done
      less than $200 in sales; OSHA (Occupational Safety Hazards Administration) began a surprise audit of their small family manufacturing business; and the EPA-affiliated TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environment Quality) did a surprise visit and audit due to “a complaint being called in.”

      Documentation for the above statements are given below

      According to the Wall Street Journal:

      “We now know that the IRS targeted not only right-leaning applicants, but
      also right-leaning groups that were already operating as 501(c)(4)s,” Mr. Camp said in a statement. “At Washington, DC’s direction, dozens of groups operating as 501(c)(4)s were flagged for IRS surveillance, including monitoring of the groups’ activities, websites and any other publicly available information. Of these groups, 83% were right-leaning. And of the groups the IRS selected for audit,100 percent were right-leaning.”

      Accordingto the Oversight staff report
      “Only seven applications in the IRS backlog contained the word ‘progressive,’ all of which were then approved by the IRS, while Tea Party groups received unprecedented review and experienced years-long delays. While some liberal-oriented groups were singled out for scrutiny, evidence shows it was due to non-political reasons,” according to the Oversight staff report

      [T]here is simply no evidence that any liberal or progressive group received enhanced scrutiny because its application reflected the organization’s political views,” the report stated.

      The committee uncovered new information indicating that after groups provided the information to the IRS, nearly one in 10 donors were subject
      to audit,” Rep. Charles W. Boustany Jr., Louisiana Republican and chairman of the Ways and Means Committee’s oversight panel, told IRS Commissioner John Koskinen at a hearing Wednesday.

      The IRS initially told Congress that those lists were destroyed, but when they went through their files they discovered three lists that weren’t destroyed.

  3. This whole thing was just a bunch of innocent, silly, coincidences. Yea, Right. What a bunch of liars. This entire administration has noses that go from Earth to the Moon and back at least 100 time. There should be several backups and I hope someone finds them and hands them over. These people belong in prison.

    • They also accidentally fired the company that stored the emails too, how UNCOMMONLY unluck could the poor VICTIMIZED IRS be??//

      • they fired the company only after they found out there was going to be an investigation, that in it’s self should raise the red flag, but since they are e/mails there are copys of them someplace, most likely the NSA has all of them, but how to get them to turn them over is a whole nether story.

        • Yes, they fired the company that was handling data backups for IRS. Questions: Did that company provide the backup hardware? If so, does it perhaps still have that hardware in storage somewhere? I can imagine them reusing the backup-server machines, but if they did I’d bet a dollar to a donut that they would pull the old, used hard drives and install factory-fresh (and unused) drives before sending the backup servers back into the field. After all, sending a technician out just once to replace a failed hard drive would probably cost more than replacing all the server’s drives at the refurbishing shop; they’d much rather rely on brand new drives that are likely to last a longer time before failing.

          If those drives still exist in a warehouse somewhere (unlikely but possible), odds are good that the data is still there and could be pulled off the drives by any good data recovery firm. If they haven’t been erased/overwritten, almost anyone might be able to retrieve the data by simply installing the drives back into a computer equipped with the backup company’s encryption software and key, if any.

  4. No scandal yet. No Obama scandal. No IRS scandal yet. Republicans have wasted millions on investigations and there is no scandal against Obama.

    5 million e-mails went missing during the Valerie Plame investigation.
    E-mails lost during torture investigations.
    Computers crash frequently at the IRS.

    What’s the difference now? A Democrat in The White House. Citizens United unleashed an avalanche of money into politics. The IRS is responsible for keeping track of that money. No party faced special treatment.

    • How many nickels did your masters pay you today. Step away from the computer and go outside in the sunshine. Let God try to shine some light on you

      • I have no masters and I’m paid through my investments. I did step out – electronics store, drug store and health food store.

        • Oh you mean you’re a Capitalist ? I thought the Dems hated people who make money. Boy you better change your ways. People are going to think you are a Republican. Don’t you think you should give those profits off your investments to the deadbeats? I mean what kind of a GREEDY bastard are you anyway Mr. WOONSOCKET ?

    • ” You can keep your Dr. ” ( no lie there huh? ) ” You can keep your Ins.” ( no lie there huh?) ” It was because of a video ” ( no lie there huh?) Those are just the blatant, out there, in your face Obama LIES that everybody saw. That does not even scratch the surface of the LIES that have been told by him and the rest of his totally corrupt treason ridden administration. As far as donors go, have you ever heard of George Soros ? Bet you have haven’t you? Even the head of the IRS is a Democrat DONOR. Gee isn’t that funny? Bet you’ll find that just about every major RICH LIB in the country is a Democrat donor. Don’t ya think?
      Now, you want to talk about not answering questions? Why did Lois Lerner plead the 5th ? Because she is innocent of any wrong doing? ( Give me a freaking break ). Also isn’t it Funny how they lost just the emails from the time period in question. Not only her emails but 6 other IRS hard drive crashes from people involved in the SCANDAL. LIE,LIE,LIE. And it is a SCANDAL Mr. WOONSOCKET. This is THE biggest one of them all because it could effect every single tax payer in this country. Even you WOONSOCKET. Tell me WOONSOCKET, why are the Dems not up in arms about this? Don’t you find that a little odd? Do you think they are protecting somebody? (B.O.?) They pay taxes don’t they? Don’t you think they should be concerned about the credibility of the IRS? Why is it just Republicans who care about this?
      You can keep trying to defend this scumbag Administration BUT it will come back to bite you because they don’t care about anything but power. Peons like you and me mean nothing to them unless you disagree with their perverted agenda. Than they try and destroy you with name calling, race bating or character assassination. If they don’t get you that way than they will sick the IRS on you. Nice bunch of folks that you admire WOONSOCKET.

        • I just don’t like them to think they are getting away with their BLIND, IGNORANT comments. These Obama Libs are Pompous self serving know it all’s. There is almost never a speck of substance in what they say or believe. I will fight them tell the day I die.

    • You actually believe none of the Obama scandals have any truth to them? You are not skeptical about an overreaching government at all? You believe all of Obama’s explanations. You are exactly the type of idiot tyrants like. You defend the very people attempting to oppress you. Freedom means nothing to you and you relish having every aspect of your life under government control.

  5. I bet Snowden has Lous Lerner’s emails! We need a knight in shining armor to save America from those occupying OUR government!

  6. If you want to see how the IRS works. Call them and tell them your hard drive crashed, And the IRS will say guilty as charged. And that is what Congress should do.

  7. Did she purposely destroy her hard drive? I have never heard of a more rhetorical question in my life. Stop and think about it. She works for the IRS, she hates conservatives, she knows she will never be punished for anything she can do to help this administration. DUHH

  8. I feel quit sure she did.Thats why she took the 5th and said she wasnt gulity of ANYTHING But it could have been from higher ups

  9. You wouldn’t know it from listening to the Republicans, but the IRS has worse problems that missing emails and blatant misuse of power. The IRS operates on 71,684 pages of inefficient, wasteful, burdensome, uneconomical Tax Code. Of course, we could come up with a better tax system . . . but neither Party wants to. A 71,684 page Tax Code is a phoney “jobs program” and a source for political power. Republicans must find lost email a convenient scapegoat, a happy diversion from the real IRS problem.

  10. For some reason Republicans act as if they’re not interested in the rules as this IRS investigation continues. If a conservative on the committee wants an answer wouldn’t he he let the witness answer the question? Why keep interrupting witnesses if you want clarity? If you’re going to make fun of excuses, what excuse do Republicans have for being unprofessional at IRS hearings in the first place???

  11. I doubt that Lois destroyed the hard drives, she isn’t that smart. But he Occupier
    in the White House and his masters have minions of loyal stooges who are willing
    to go to jail for such actions. To destroy this many hard drives and paper trails
    that exist requires a legion of support and coordination to insure that all traces
    are removed and very high skill levels. This is not like Nixon and the missing
    18 minutes, which finally showed up, being cut out of a tape. It is a wide spread
    attempt to stage a coup of the United States Government by the Socialist
    Democrats and their stooges in government and the private sector alike.
    The question is are the majority of American just going to sit on their hands
    and let it happen or will they actually get off their asses and vote in 2014 and
    2016 to remove the stain in Washington and local elections?

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