GOP Congressmen: IRS Knew of ‘Lost’ Emails for Months

Former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner / AP

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GOP congressmen said Tuesday that the IRS knew for months it had lost a significant amount of emails from ex-IRS official Lois Lerner’s account, but kept it secret from Congress, Fox News reports:

The lawmakers noted that during this period, newly appointed Commissioner John Koskinen nevertheless assured Congress the agency would produce the documents, which are considered critical to their efforts to probe the targeting of Tea Party and other groups. Further, lawmakers said records from six other IRS workers appear to have gone missing as well.

"It looks like the American people were lied to and the IRS tried to cover-up the fact it conveniently lost key documents in this investigation," House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., and Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., said in a statement.

Republicans on the committee said the agency knew as early as February that emails were missing.

The IRS informed Congress Friday that two years’ worth of emails between Lerner, who resigned under pressure for her role in the IRS targeting scandal, and outside groups, such as the White House and the FEC, due to a computer crash in 2011.

House Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) subpoenaed the IRS commissioner to testify on the lost emails, as well as the allegedly corrupted hard drive that once held the emails.

"I will not tolerate your continued obstruction and game-playing in response to the Committee's investigation of the IRS targeting," Issa wrote.

The White House has downplayed the lost emails and the accusations from Republicans that the "crash" may be an attempt to obstruct its yearlong investigation into the IRS targeting scandal.

"I think it's entirely reasonable. And it's fact," White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One Monday. "You've never heard of a computer crashing before?"

The IRS has said it devoted significant resources to complying with congressional inquiries.

"The IRS has made unprecedented efforts in connection with this effort, producing more than 750,000 pages of documents to help complete the investigations," the agency said in a statement to the Washington Free Beacon last Friday. "In total, the IRS’s efforts to respond to Congress have involved more than 250 IRS employees working more than 120,000 hours at a direct cost of nearly $10 million."