Issa Subpoenas IRS Commissioner to Testify on ‘Lost’ Lerner Emails

Agency claims years of emails lost due to computer crash

Lois Lerner / AP
June 17, 2014

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) subpoenaed the IRS commissioner Monday to testify next week after the agency claimed it lost an unknown number of emails from former senior official Lois Lerner.

The IRS informed Congress last Friday that it lost some of Lerner’s emails, which House Republicans are seeking as part of its ongoing, yearlong investigation into the IRS targeting scandal, due to a computer crash in 2011.

Lerner resigned last year under pressure for her role in the IRS targeting scandal.

Because of the crash, the IRS said it could not produce emails between Lerner and the White House, Treasury Department, Justice Department, FEC, or other offices.

The "crash" has rankled Republicans, who say the records should have been safely preserved under the Federal Records Act.

"I will not tolerate your continued obstruction and game-playing in response to the Committee’s investigation of the IRS targeting," Issa wrote in a letter to the IRS commissioner Monday. "For too long, the IRS has promised to produce requested—and, later, subpoenaed—documents, only to respond later with excuses and inaction.  Despite your empty promises and broken commitments to cooperation, the IRS still insists on flouting constitutional congressional oversight."

However, the IRS said it has 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 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."