U.S. Archivist: IRS ‘Did Not Follow The Law’ After They Lost Lerner Emails

Archivist confirms IRS broke Federal Records Act

BY:

U.S. Archivist David Ferriero of the National Archives and Records Administration told Rep. Tim Walberg (R., Mich.) that the IRS “did not follow the law” when they failed to notify his administration that they had lost Lois Lerner’s email records.

Ferriero testified that all agencies are required to notify the Archives of unauthorized destruction of federal records.

At first Ferriero, questioned by Walberg, avoided directly saying that the IRS broke the law.

“Is it fair to say that the IRS broke the Federal Records Act?” Walberg asked.

“I’m not a lawyer,” Ferriero hedged.

“But you administer the Federal Records Act?” Walberg pressed. “If they didn’t follow it, can we safely assume they broke the law?”

“They did not follow the law,” Ferriero confirmed.

Transcript of the full exchange:

WALBERG: In your testimony you state that when agencies become aware of unauthorized destruction of federal records, that they are required to report the incidents to the Archives. At any time in 2011, through last Monday, did the IRS report any loss of records related to Lois Lerner?

FERRIERO: No.

WALBERG: Is it fair to say that the IRS broke the Federal Records Act?

FERRIERO: Any agency is required to notify us when they realize they have a problem that could be destruction or unauthorized disposal–
WALBERG: But they didn’t do that.

FERRIERO: That’s right.

WALBERG: Did they break the law?

FERRIERO: I’m not a lawyer.

WALBERG: But you administer the Federal Records Act?

FERRIERO: I do.

WALBERG: If they didn’t follow it, can we safely assume they broke the law?

FERRIERO: They did not follow the law.