(CNN) – Copies of former IRS official Lois Lerner’s emails that were deemed unrecoverable might actually be retrievable, an IRS lawyer appeared to indicate in a recent testimony, according to House Republicans.
Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, who chairs the House Oversight Committee, selectively released information Monday about a closed session the committee held with IRS Deputy Associate Chief Counsel Thomas Kane last week.
In his testimony, Kane did not rule out the possibility that tapes containing back-ups of Lerner’s emails exist, a contrast to what IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said in a House hearing last month.
The committee and the Justice Department are both investigating the disappearance of Lerner’s emails, which the IRS said was due to a crash of her hard drive.
Lerner, who ran the division that executed the IRS targeting of groups claiming tax-exempt status, resigned last year after the Treasury Department's inspector general found those working under her used "inappropriate" criteria to scrutinize certain groups.
The missing emails were dated around the same time as the scrutiny, from 2009 to mid-2011.
Koskinen explained to the committee last month how the IRS had tried to retrieve the emails, but said even back-up tapes no longer existed because they had been recycled, which he said weren’t uncommon for large organizations.
But Issa is highlighting the recent interview with Kane, who said he doesn’t know whether that back-up data exists, but added that “it’s an issue that’s being looked at” by the Treasury’s Inspector general’s office.
The same lawyer, according to Issa, said other IRS officials could have had computer problems, including people who worked in Lerner’s division.
Reached by CNN, the IRS had no comment about the remarks from Kane, attributed to information from Issa’s committee.
The agency pointed to Koskinen’s testimony last month.
Issa has another hearing scheduled for Wednesday.
CNN’s Kevin Bohn and Lisa Desjardins contributed to this report.