June 29th, 2014
11:22 AM ET
9 years ago

Issa: 'We'll probably never know' what happened to Lerner's hard drive

(CNN) – Rep. Darrell Issa said Sunday the committee he chairs will "probably never know" if a computer crash that destroyed sought-after e-mails was a deliberate act to cover up wrongdoing at the IRS.

In an exclusive interview with CNN's Candy Crowley, the California Republican said that though the hard drive belonging to former IRS official Lois Lerner is “physically gone,” there's evidence that she was in violation of some agency regulations and laws.

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"What we do know from the discovery we have gotten from e-mails, that we've gotten from multiple sources, is she broke some regulations. She broke some laws," he said. "She sent, trying to get prosecution apparently, she sent 1.1 million tax records over to the Department of Justice including inappropriate or actually illegal... disclosures on behalf of conservative groups."

Lerner resigned last year after the Treasury Department's inspector general found people working under her used "inappropriate" criteria to scrutinize certain groups, particularly those with conservative political names, that had applied for tax-exempt status. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which Issa chairs, is investigating.

Oversight Chair Darrell Issa subpoenas 28 years of records

The computer crash, the latest turn in the already convoluted investigation, has further inflamed Republican suspicions that Lerner has something to hide.

"Obviously she had 30 years of experience," Issa said. "She knew under the federal records act that she had an obligation for these documents to be preserved, these e-mails. And to not have print to paper, which is the policy that she had to know, is pretty hard to believe - that there aren't paper copies."

Issa continued: "So do I believe that she printed to paper? Yes. She's an attorney of long standing and it's kind of hard to believe that you wouldn't cover with your own paper copies."

The committee chairman also went after Lerner's attorney, William Taylor, after his client refused to testify at hearings, invoking her constitutional right not to do so.

"Her attorney has said things that are not correct, or disingenuous or outright lied a number of times, it's been shown by e-mails," Issa said.

"(An) attorney trying to get his client off the hook after flubbing and taking the Fifth certainly will say and do a lot of things."

Lerner attorney: Client vilified by GOP out of convenience

The IRS failure to keep proper documentation and backup communication, Issa said, “has very little to do with the fundamental problem, which is (that) Lois Lerner's unit, headed by Lois Lerner and directed by Lois Lerner, unfairly targeted and abused conservative groups for what they believed."

Democrats, meanwhile, as well as Lerner's attorney, accuse House Republicans of politicizing the investigation, noting that some liberal groups seeking tax-exempt status also apparently were targeted by the agency.

In his first television appearance on the controversy, Taylor wouldn’t respond specifically to Issa’s claim that he had lied, but suggested Republicans are using his client has a political tool to gin up conservative enthusiasm ahead of the midterm elections.

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

Filed under: Darrell Issa • IRS • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Rusty Krus

    Issa is the richest member of congress. Why does he wear such a bad toupee?

    June 29, 2014 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  2. don in albuquerque

    Chase that bogey man. Everybody's afraid of that bogey man, so chase him. Whether he's real or not.

    June 29, 2014 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  3. Steve

    Issa has no interest in facts that might conflict with the stories he is spinning. This actually works much better for his scandal mgmt program, where he is just trying to create issues for republicans to run on, since they have no accomplishments to run on.

    June 29, 2014 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  4. Chris..E.al

    Bad sector in a trillllion . l0l yea riight maybe 4 a dem voter .l0l ok .

    June 29, 2014 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  5. neutral observer

    I hope somebody with some real deep pockets (Koch clan?) offers a humongous reward to any hacker who can retrieve the "lost" emails. Imagine their facial expressions the day that happens? Oooops!

    June 29, 2014 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  6. neutral observer

    Anyone with half a brain knows the "lost" emails is just a story. Those things are backed up many times over. I wonder if someone going through an IRS audit ever gave that excuse what would happen. I can see it now,.."oh,well then we'll just assume the worst, guilty as charged!"

    June 29, 2014 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  7. neutral observer

    Chris E: "Dems want what you got for free " That's absolutely right. The politically well connected who can't produce are so envious of those can.

    June 29, 2014 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  8. neutral observer

    "Middle of circus clowns appears yes republican’s circus clown character for Rep. Darrell Issa
    Yes we can laugh"
    The whole world shakes at the fiery intellect of your searing logic.

    June 29, 2014 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  9. neutral observer

    In order for the "lost" emails story to work, not only Lerners email would have to have gone belly up, but everyone she sent those emails to. And any organization has softcopy back ups just in case something like a bum harddrive ever does happen.

    June 29, 2014 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  10. SusanName

    Please, please vote democrat in 2014. I would love my kids to see how government is suppose to work

    June 30, 2014 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  11. j.v.hodgson

    Para graphs 3 and 11 of this blog
    For para 3 submit the evidence to the attorney general and get he indicted if what Issa says is correct. ther have been cases where His shots have proved to be like blanks ineffective.
    For para 11 stop with the character assination of a lawyer,If what he says is true sent the evidence the American bar association and let them take care of it. Frankly If I were the lawyer I'd sue Issa for libel and CNN for slander.
    Why do republicans need to have three committees investigation this when the house just appointed a committee, Time to start minimizing the cost of this exercise

    June 30, 2014 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  12. Marie MD

    Aaawww, poor buzzard (he looks like one).
    I take it that you are not doing well back home and are not getting enough air time?
    Why is he relevant? He's a bully and his manners are worse than an ape's.

    June 30, 2014 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  13. dick cheney, puppet master

    And for all the clueless lefties, the IRS has a legal obligation to ensure its records are kept, protected and maintained. Emails are official government correspondence and need to be kept.

    And as an Independent, I would take you righties seriously had you made as big a stink about the admitted deletion of well over 5 million emails regarding the Iraq war from W and Cheney. Since there wasn't a peep from your side then, I can only assume then that this is political posturing at best.

    June 30, 2014 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
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