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.

[twitter-follow screen_name='politicalticker'][twitter-follow screen_name='danadavidsenCNN']

"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. Shayn Roby

    Reblogged this on shaynroby and commented:
    Shayn Roby's Take: Lois Lerner exercised her Fifth Amendment rights and declined to answer any questions that may have been asked of her by Congress. Her emails now have been "lost". She should be charged with Obstruction of Justice and serve jail time when convicted.

    June 29, 2014 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  2. Chris..E.al

    Dems want what you got for free .

    June 29, 2014 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  3. MaryM

    Issa, you already know what happened to the hard drive, just like you already know what happened in Benghazi. God you people are so freaking ignorant!!
    Orange County, CA. citizens, will you Please vote that criminal Issa out of office. (do a quick search on Issa's criminal background)

    June 29, 2014 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  4. vic , nashville ,tn

    Middle of circus clowns appears yes republican’s circus clown character for Rep. Darrell Issa
    Yes we can laugh

    June 29, 2014 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  5. Blake

    @Shayn Roby

    Except she didn't lose her emails. The IRS did because of not backing up emails after 6 months due to budgetary issues. However if there's clear evidence of wrongdoing lets see it Issa and charge her accordingly. I doubt we will see either, the political smearing.

    What should really be done is get more money for the IRS to have the ability to backup emails for years and the IRS should go back to the original language of the law (which they somehow were able to change without any laws being passed) to no politically affiliated group gets tax exempt status period instead of their made up paper tiger language that causes this mess. Of course the former will never get done because that's "big government" and the latter would get challenged by some interest group, would go to the Supreme Court and die there since money = free speech to them.

    June 29, 2014 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    It was swapped out with a bad one, to cover up the criminal activity.

    June 29, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  7. Gary

    Everyone on the right says Hilary shouldnt be president because she is worth 100 mil. This lying crook, Issa, is worth over 300 mil.
    I guess it's all in a name. Isis's = bad. Issa = very bad.

    June 29, 2014 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  8. Rick McDaniel

    The drive was simply swapped out, and removed. This is a total cover up, and it is glaringly obvious, it is a cover up, because everyone knows the trail of criminal behavior goes straight to Obama.

    June 29, 2014 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  9. Blake

    Candy asked him straight up whether there is one single evidence that points to ONLY Conservative groups being targed. Asked him directly if there's a Lerner email that says "Go after these guys?" Asked him directly is there any links to the Obama Administration. Asked asked him about releasing the "evidence" they have (like Cumming wants to show there's no Scandal). Issa doesn't answer any of the questions save for last saying that he doesn't want to disclose the evidence due to "process." Except "process" didn't get in the way of releasing all types of snippets of the IRS/Benghazi investigation he released to the media while denying Dem Co-Chair Cummings the same right... This is a witch hunt.

    June 29, 2014 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  10. Marie MD

    Just like we will never learn how you and your brother got away with stealing cars?
    Is that why you just can't let this go?
    This guy has never met a camera he didn't like. Unfortunately he thinks he's good looking. He looks like a buzzard!

    June 29, 2014 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  11. Maria Rivera-Carvalho

    Or to Issa’s dignity.

    June 29, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  12. The REAL Truth...

    @Rick McDaniel – The drive was simply swapped out, and removed. This is a total cover up, and it is glaringly obvious, it is a cover up, because everyone knows the trail of criminal behavior goes straight to Obama.
    blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.. The hard drive CRASHED BEFORE the investigation started, was sent to the forensics lab to see if the data could be recovered. It could not.. meanwhile she got another drive in her PC..
    Typical procedure (minus the recovery attempts) for the thousands of daily drive crashes that occur in US Business. The only criminal behavior here is "witch hunt" Issa's...

    June 29, 2014 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  13. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    @Shayn Roby: "Lois Lerner exercised her Fifth Amendment rights and declined to answer any questions that may have been asked of her by Congress. Her emails now have been "lost". She should be charged with Obstruction of Justice and serve jail time when convicted."

    Taking the Fifth is Lerner's C O N S T I T U T I O N A L right – and it doesn't mean she's guilty.
    Regarding her emails: They are lost; and from the company, Sonasoft Corp., that the right claims had its contract with the IRS cancelled as part of a "cover-up," this from its June 24, 2014 press release: Sonasoft Corp. clarifies its position regarding Sonasoft’s email archiving products and the IRS. Sonasoft does NOT have IRS email. Sonasoft NEVER had access"

    There is no obstruction here – just Issa and his addiction to wasting taxpayer money as a way to motive the gop/tea bag base of dimwits to continue opening their wallets.

    to IRS email.

    June 29, 2014 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  14. The REAL Truth...

    Someone should tell Issa he already knows what happened to the hard drive... not like that will stop any of his witch hunts and political posturing.... Why don't you grant immunity to Lerner so she can testify.. or have you found absolutely NOTHING in the 46,000 email you already have, yet continue to look for "something" to use against the POTUS and pointing fingers at lerner is all you got. I'd take the 5ht too to prevent being a pawn in political theater.

    All that has worked so well on your prior 14 investigations... oh.. it's an election year? You don't say!

    June 29, 2014 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  15. labman57

    Standard GOP mantra:
    "I know what I know, and that's all that I need to know."

    June 29, 2014 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  16. Sara

    The email (i.e., PST files) data on Hard Drives is recoverable, even if the "Operating System" (i.e., Windows 7/8) crashes....in fact, entire companies do this for a service for important data (i.e., medical research and banking data).

    It is not even funny how much of a lie that Lois's Hard Drive and seven of her closest worker's drives had crashed and irrecoverable data. A complete and 100% lie...and the only reason to lie is because the trail of political targeting leads directly to the Oval Office.

    June 29, 2014 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  17. Tommy G

    Funny how not just Lerner's drive went bad, but that SIX others went bad. Yeah, very coincidental, just as questions were being raised and the cover blown off the whole targeting of TEA party groups, which Lerner has admitted to doing so I don't know why all the lefties in here continuously lie about this. She ADMITTED IT!!

    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. If the IRS is not doing this then people need to be fired and prosecuted as they are violating federal law. All this BS about not having money to do it is the stock leftist response to every problem. Sure seems the IRS had no shortage of money for bonuses and conferences though.

    But in all likelyhood nothing will happen to anybody as the Democrat Party has become a more of a criminal enterprise than a political party. This is what happens when you put crooks and criminals in charge of the government.

    June 29, 2014 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  18. vortex100

    The Republican kabuki theater continues. Lots of drama, but no substance. They, of course, cannot prove a thing. Of course, in their minds they don't need to. There just must be a conspiracy, even if there is no proof. Issa, with the truly criminal past, has now become the ringmaster of the clowns, and he is appalled that hardly anyone is in the audience is paying attention to his incompetent performances. How sad.

    June 29, 2014 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  19. barky

    Corruption from the top down. ISH!

    June 29, 2014 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  20. Thomas

    How much has Issa spent on various comities to find nothing ?

    June 29, 2014 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  21. Laura

    Translation".........I have no facts. Lol

    June 29, 2014 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  22. sifto

    Guilty as charged..people are not as dumb as WH would have them believe

    June 29, 2014 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  23. Patriot

    It certainly doesn't come as any surprise that Darrell Issa doesn't know things.

    June 29, 2014 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  24. anthony

    To the stupid liberals. It isntt matter how u spin. If ur side doesnt do it why not agree to appoint the independent counsel to investigate once for all. Just that is simple

    June 29, 2014 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  25. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    And we will probably never know why Darrell Issa stole automobiles, committed insurance fraud, set at least one business on fire and lied about his military record.

    June 29, 2014 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
1 2