Ellison’s Must Read of the Day

Ellison must read
• July 10, 2014 8:44 am


My must read of the day is "Lois Lerner cautioned against email chatter amid lawmaker probes," in Politico:

Former IRS official Lois Lerner said she warned her colleagues to be careful about what they write in emails amid congressional inquiries, according to new emails released by House Oversight Republicans.

She also asked whether the IRS’s internal messaging system could be searched, in the same email to an IRS colleague. It was sent April 9, 2013, less than two weeks after the IRS inspector general that unearthed the tea party targeting practice shared a draft report with the agency.

"I was cautioning folks about email and how we have had several occasions where Congress has asked for emails and there has been an electronic search for responsive emails — so we need to be cautious about what we say in emails," she wrote to Maria Hooke, the director of business systems planning for the tax-exempt division. "Someone asked if OCS conversations were also searchable — I don’t know. … Do you know?"

A pervasive defense of Lerner's missing emails has been that it was absolutely an accident because they went missing before there was a probe and before she was told about the targeting in Cincinnati. "How did she know the emails even needed to be deleted?" some ask. "Was she clairvoyant?"

Firstly, the theory presupposes that Lerner was not involved in the targeting at all, which is something many would dispute, and since those are the people also disputing whether her missing emails were an accident the "clairvoyance" argument is ultimately nonsensical. Secondly, if you knew you did something wrong and there was the potential it could get you in trouble, you would go ahead and get rid of that evidence, like a cheating spouse who deletes their text messages in case the wrong person decides to snoop.

It’s an argument that was always logically flawed, but the latest evidence should discredit and finally void it.

We still do not know definitively if Lerner's computer crash was deliberate, but it cannot be ruled out because it occurred before there were official reports of problems or an official congressional probe. Lerner was perceptive and well aware of the oversight on government computers, hence her warning.

Published under: IRS, Lois Lerner